Arts & Events

Impact Theater Celebrates ‘Puberty’

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday May 07, 2009 - 06:27:00 PM

As Impact Theatre recently turned 13, the company is celebrating the awkward coming of age with Puberty, a compendium of original dreams and nightmares in sketch form. Wet dreams and scatological nightmares, to some extent. But they call it Puberty; you’re forewarned. More refined forms of crudity, like the burlesk flavor—and dances—of previous editions of Impact Briefs, have been removed like facial hair. But they’ll probably grow back. 

With that said, it can be a pretty funny show, especially the second half, in great part due to the exuberance of the seven players. Several are young vets of at least a previous Impact show, so they know how to bounce off the walls of the little theater in La Val’s basement, and seem to enjoy doing it.  

(Speaking of La Val’s—and of Impact’s mission to theatricalize to an audience eating pizza and drinking beer, like any self-respecting spectator sport—it’s time to join the groundswell of support for a pizza named after co-founder and managing director Cheshire Isaacs: The Cheshire Special, conjuring up a picture of which everything disappears but the smile.) 

Of the seven cast members, John Nagel, also tech manager, and Seth Thygesen are Impact members. They work together wickedly well in “The Talk,” a little father-son tete-a-tete with teeth in it. Nagel could be right out of an Edward Gorey picture; so could the play, perhaps the best of the lot. 

There are seven plays as well, two by previously Impact produced playwright, Andrew Shemin: “The Cat Lee Show,” a pubescent talk show, and “Community Outreach Theatre Program.” Cheshire’s “home alone” opus, “Suede,” explores character-building through confronting parents returning from a trip with the truth—or not. Emily Rosenthal proves herself the perfect leader of the “Puberty Support Group,” sometime Impact collaborator Pete Caslavka’s effort—and Emily shows herself (her character, rather) the perfect co-dependent as well.  

A couple of the plays come from as far away as Pittsburgh (“Check This Out,” by Sean McKee) and Paris (where Andrew Shemin is based.) 

Andrew Goy, member of San Francisco’s Un-Scripted Theater, directed.  

In between the mostly sketch-like plays, the cast holds forth with sex education questions from kids and other timekillers for set changes.  

As always with Impact Briefs, the focus is on quick, entertaining bits, good clean off-color fun. They succeed at it, too. 



8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through June 6 at La Val’s Subterranean, 1834 Euclid Ave. $11-18.