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THEATER REVIEW: “Simply Sci-Fi” at South Park’s Big Kitchen

A reporter falls for an alien, a man signs up for a trip to his past and aliens abduct the wrong man in the New Play Cafe’s “Simply Sci-Fi.”

And that’s just three in a set of six 10-minute plays by local playwrights, which can be seen Thursdays and Fridays through Aug. 30 in South Park’s Big Kitchen.

My favorites are Carla Nell’s “Don Juan Whitman On Earth” and Janet S. Tiger’s “The Time Travel Cafe.”

In the amusing “Don Juan,” TV reporter Tanya (Laura Bohlin), doing a story on aliens among us, does brief interviews with two playgoers before sidling up to a stranger who turns out be alien playwright Don Juan (J. Tyler Jones).

“The Time Travel Cafe” seems to be in the South, as Tiffany Tang (a hoot as waitress-with-a-drawl Flo) explains the concept to Guy (Philip John), who wants to return to his childhood in Seattle ... even after Flo points out that he will be unable to change the past.

Tang turns alien in Bryan Finnigan’s “Peripathetic,” where she explains to Langdon (Fred Harlow) why he’s been abducted: “You’ve been chosen to take your place among humanity’s greatest thinkers.”

But is this loser – who’s lost five jobs in the last year – the right guy?

Computer dating doesn’t seem to improve in the future, if Kathleen E. Massé’s “Romancing The Machine” is any sample. But at least there the arduous task of carrying a baby is farmed out to others because, as Zoe (Bohlin) puts it, “neobirths are the best thing to happen since genetic profiling.”

Less successful are Nate Black’s “Crash Bang Boom,” in which three guys (Tony Beville, Erik Cram and Steve Smith) prepare to meet noisy aliens outside, and Ryan Roach’s “Evil Alan,” in which nice guy Alan (Harlow) is introduced to his evil self by John Doe (Philip John). The first lacks a dramatic arc; the second leaves a bad taste.

This is the second installment in New Plays Cafe’s series of short plays by local writers. “The Coffee Shop Chronicles” played to sold out houses and critical success in May 2013. The plays are served with coffee or tea and dessert.

The brainchild of Jennie Olson Six, Lizzie Silverman and Kevin Six, New Play Cafe’s mission is to help playwrights ready plays for production or publication.

Sci-fi and strawberry shortcake: What could be better on a warm summer evening?

The details

“Simply Sci-Fi” (new plays by local writers) plays through August 30, 2013 (and includes dessert and coffee) at The Big Kitchen, 3003 Grape St. in South Park.

Thursday and Friday at 7:30 pm.

Tickets: (619) 663-4852 or HERE.

To read more reviews by SDGLN Theater Critic Jean Lowerison, click HERE.