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In one evening of theater, four stories

Rookie director Lillian Falcone realizes her dream of seeing four one-act plays staged at the Forum.

By JOY DAVIS-PLATT

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2001


SPRING HILL -- Four one-act plays will show off the talents of Stage West Community Playhouse veterans and newcomers this weekend.

Four in the Forum will feature The Monkey's Paw, The Committee Meeting, Sorry, Wrong Number, and Curses, the Villain is Foiled. Organizer Lillian Falcone said the idea for four diverse pieces on the same stage came to her awhile ago.

"I've been talking about this ever since the Forum (Stage West's smaller theater) was built," she said. "I thought it would be so easy, but it's not. Finding, casting and rehearsing four plays at once is challenging."

But the payoff, Falcone said, will be worth the effort.

"This is really exciting for me because it's a chance to broaden our pool of performers," she said.

As director of Joleen K. Bland's comical The Committee Meeting, Falcone is using several Stage West newcomers in the one-act play about five women in a congregational meeting for their church.

"It's really a nice mix, and each woman has her own character that they bring out," said Falcone, who played Fraulein Schneider in Stage West's 1999 production of Cabaret. "I watch the rehearsals, and I'm sitting there laughing. If women come who have been to these kinds of meetings, they will know what's going on."

Phil Hilton will make his directorial debut with The Monkey's Paw, a piece based on W.W. Jacob's 1902 Gothic tale with the same name. The short story tells of a man who gets everything he wishes for -- then wishes he hadn't asked for.

Louis Parker's script has only one act, but three scenes. Hilton said the staging was a challenge.

"We do some quick shuffling in the dark," he said.

With smaller productions, Hilton said, there are fewer people behind the scenes to pull a show together.

"There is no prop manager, no stage manager. We do it all," he said. "It's fun in a way to have it all up to you."

Four in the Forum will mark the second time audiences have seen productions in Stage West's Forum theater. Stage West Children's Theater presented Clowns in June,

"You have to realize that I am not an experienced director," said Hilton, who has been in Stage West productions of Damn Yankees and Secret Garden. "That's what is so good about the smaller theater. We have new people in new roles."

Four in the Forum will be presented today through Sunday at the Forum at Stage West, 8390 Forest Oaks Blvd., Spring Hill. Shows are at 8 p.m. today and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for students. The theater's box office is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and one hour before each show. Call 683-5113.

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