Dark comedy 'Pizza Man' previews Theatre Centre competition entry

Dark comedy 'Pizza Man' previews Theatre Centre competition entry

August 26th, 2011 by Clint Cooper in Chattnow Art

IF YOU GO

What: "Pizza Man."

When: 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday.

Where: Circle Stage, Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 400 River St.

Admission: $5.

Phone: 267-8534.

Website: www.theatrecentre.com.

What toppings would you like on your pizza? A little comedy? A little angst? A little absurdity?

"Pizza Man," which will be the Chattanooga Theatre Centre's entry in the Tennessee Theater Association competition in October, will have all three when it is offered tonight and Saturday on the CTC's Circle Stage.

Maria Chattin-Carter, the CTC's youth theater director, first came across the dark comedy by Darlene Cravioto while in college, picked it up again recently and suggested it to producing director George Quick. He in turn proposed it for the theater competition.

"It's an ensemble piece, an actors' play," Chattin-Carter said. "In rehearsal, it's really been enjoyable to see how we're communicating with one another, through our body language and getting more comfortable with the characters and each other."

Chattin-Carter's character is Julie, who gets a pink slip after rejecting the advances of her boss and is drinking to forget her troubles. Stephanie Smith portrays Alice, whose anger over her boyfriend's return to his wife pushes her into an eating binge.

To get even, the pair hatch a plan to pick a guy -- any guy -- and treat him with the same disdain they feel they've been treated. The pizza delivery man, played by Seth Patton, accepts their seemingly harmless invitation to stay and share a beer with them. That sets their plan in motion.

As it unfolds, Chattin-Carter said, all three characters are forced to look at how they live their lives, to examine their dreams and to realize what they're doing at present isn't working.

Though the premise seems dark, she said the production is "very humorous."

Plays in the Dixon, Tenn., competition, according to Chattin-Carter, are only about 50 minutes in length. And companies are given only so much time to set them up and break them down, she said. Because of that, settings, costumes and props are minimal.

"Pizza Man," which contains adult situations and language, is directed by Garrell Woods.