All photos by Adam Neubauer
Imagine a strange and horrifying world. In this universe, time can be bent, the dead can return, and irony reigns supreme. Here, characters find themselves at a crossroads between the mundane and the downright bizarre. No, it’s not The Twilight Zone. It’s TV Live.
TV Live is a short evening of mini plays reminiscent of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Night Gallery, and Tales From the Darkside. Each story is introduced by a Rod Serling type character played by Michele Danyn.
The first play follows a young nurse (Bonnyjean Hoffert) as she attempts to help a patient with multiple personalities. As she assists a sweet young patient, she must also face his killer persona (both played by Tucker Matthews). Always waiting near by is lobotomy happy doctor (Mark Motyl). Written by Andy Shultz and directed by Adam Neubauer, the piece is a creative tribute to the asylum based thrillers of the 60s like Shock Corridor.
The next segment, written by Steven Alloway and directed by JC Gafford concerns time travel, romance, and betrayal. The story revolves around a young actress (Katie Grace Hansen) playing a role on a sci-fi television show. It quickly becomes apparent that it’s more than just a role. She must unravel her feelings for her showrunner/former lover (Sam Horrilleno) and also deal with her wacky costar (David Kaufman). While I was entranced by the plot, I didn’t feel the performances did the writing justice. I commend all three actors for putting forth an honorable effort, but the emotions didn’t seem to be there.
The third and strongest piece of the night is a bittersweet tale by Caroline Muniak and directed by Sebastian Munoz. This testament to everlasting love centers on a woman (Sherry Michaels) struggling with Dementia or Alzheimer’s. Her husband (Tom Jones) and his younger self (Nathan Pellow) lend all of their support. I won’t spoil it for you, but the ending sure tugs on the heartstrings in an honest, non Hallmark Channel way. All three actors are outstanding. It’s their performances that allow this piece to have such a heavy impact.
The concluding play amps up the tension, by placing two criminals (Sasha Snow and Ali Graba) and their hostage (Skip Pipo) in a bank vault. Throw in two guns and some personal secrets and the situation turns ugly fast. This story, written by Adam Neubauer, and directed by James R. Eschom has a decent premise. However, the specific details of the plot aren’t made clear, which causes this thriller to fall flat. Without context, it’s difficult for me to feel invested in the relationships of these three characters. I’d almost like to see this story remade in a longer format to allow more time for things to develop.
TV Live is a great ride for those who love classic episodic sci-fi. While, the show may not be completely even in quality, it’s never dull. I could tell that all involved brought grand amounts of care to create this endeavor. I imagine Rod Serling himself would be proud. Audiences have one more Sunday to catch TV Live in its current form. After that, the show will return with an all new show in the same format. For times and tickets, readers should visit fonprods.tix.com/schedule.aspx.