Rule of 7x7: Spring Edition

Brett Epstein, creator of Rule of 7x7 at The Tank, as Principal Levins in his own short one-man play, Performing Arts High School Principal, directed by Jacob Brandt.

By Andrew Andrews

Back in December we reviewed the Holiday Edition of Rule of 7x7, which we mentioned is one of our favorite events in Manhattan. We missed the last episode of this bi-monthly event at The Tank, but rushed back tonight for the Spring Edition when we realized just an hour beforehand that it was about to hit the stage.

This is the show where creator Brett Epstein invites six writers to join him in developing, casting and performing seven ten-minute plays. Each play must satisfy seven different criteria—one rule invented by each of the writers. Sometimes a play will be serious, but usually they’re all pretty funny. For this episode, however, all of them had to be comedies, because that was one of the seven rules—along with repetitive movement, unrequited love, someone tells a knock-knock joke, a character finishes another character’s sentence, not enough soda, and the line “I Venmo’ed [a person] [a dollar amount] for [an item].”

First to the stage was Camping by Allison Buck. Briana Pozner directed Eli Gelb, Olivia Stoker and Lilli Stein in a story about a stressed-out woman that needs alone time, despite two mismatched friends who want to help her through a landmark birthday camping trip. Next up, Libby Peterson directed Chris White and Melissa Diaz in Amina Henry’s Knock Knock, about a woman with commitment issues and the unfortunate man who’s fallen for her. Colin Waitt’s Submission (directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker) was third, in which a writer named Kim (Jennifer Tsay) tries to help her friend Geoff (Matt Stango) develop ideas for a performance, acted out by Dominique Brillon and Joseph Huffman as Geoff narrates.

Before intermission, Epstein starred in his own Performing Arts High School Principal (shown; directed by Jacob Brandt), in which the named character reprimanded his students (played by us, the audience!) over lewd behavior during a cast party, as demonstrated by secret recordings (voiced by unspecified actors). Then, after the break, Nick Mecikalski starred in our favorite act of the evening: Kev Berry’s Otospermophilus Beecheyi, directed by Emily Moler. This one-man show about an eleven-year-old oddball with an antebellum southern accent in a state with a serious squirrel problem had us keeling with laughter (even more so than the four great scripts before it). Next up, Haley Jones and Marina Pires starred in Sean Murphy’s Book Club (directed by Katie Falter), in which the women coped with being the only two people in the club not invited to attend a special outing. Finally, Dan Moyer starred in his own What Have We Learned Here Today? (directed by Kate Hopkins), in which a magician named Mysterious Mike explains to an audience of students (again, played by the audience, with unnamed plants among us) the perils of falling out of a window.

Tonight’s Rule of 7x7 reminded us what we already love about this show: a series of great scripts from a slew of adroit writers, performed with little preparation by equally-talented actors under very qualified directors. Although we’d prefer—as would most New Yorkers—not to go anywhere near Times Square on a Saturday night, this is one of those shows that is worth the hassle and worth more than the price of admission: less than fifteen bucks for seven plays and a free drink ticket! So what are you waiting for? Check out the next Rule of 7x7 in June, and see for yourself what a great show—or more accurately, seven shows—this can be!

5

Andrew Andrews attended Rule of 7x7: Spring Edition at The Tank in New York on Saturday, April 8, 2017 @ 7:00pm to write this review.

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