IndyFringe: Play by Play

This is part of IndyFringe 2022, Aug. 18-Sept. 4 (individual performance times vary) in downtown Indianapolis. Details and tickets at IndyFringe.org.

By John Lyle Belden

Clerical Error Productions presents “Play by Play: Tiny Little Plays by Mark Harvey Levine,” directed by Jon Lindley, and written, of course, by Levine, a master of creating humorous and heartfelt little stories that take just a few minutes. Perhaps some remember his “Cabfare for the Common Man” or his contributions to Phoenix Theatre “Xmas” shows; if you do, it’s more of that.

The framing device, as the topics are all over the place, is a parody of network sports announcers, played by Bryan Ball and Adam Crowe, who introduce the series, deliver a Halftime assessment, and announce the Two-Minute Warning near the end. To announce each little play is the Referee (David Molloy), complete with whistle and arm signals not sanctioned by the NFL, which perturbs the on-stage Director (Kate Duffy).

The plays are acted superbly by Ball, Crowe, Tracy Herring, T.J. O’Neil, Talor Poore, and Michelle Wafford. There are grown-up children’s games, the politics of fish, restaurant scenes, questions of reality, encounters with deities, and – a running theme in this year’s IndyFringe, it seems – a cryptid.

Every year, once people learn I’ve seen and am reviewing a whole bunch of Fringe shows, I’m asked what is good to recommend. This one’s at the top of the list, with something for every sense of humor and not too challenging on the feels (though one bit comes close).

There are numerous opportunities, as well. “Play By Play” is at the District Theatre 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25; 5:15 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27; 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1; and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4.

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