“Today Specials” and “Blue Christmas”

“Today’s Specials” Complicated relationships and screwed up marriages are two phrases one could use to describe “Today’s Specials” written by Greg Vovos. Directed by Carolyn Whittingham ’11, “Today’s Specials” centers on a first date that is anything but ordinary, and the raunchy comedy is full of surprises. “I wanted to push the limits at how racy DramaLabs can be,” said Whittingham, a second-time director. “I’ve had two turned down for being too racy. I wanted to push the producers’ limits.” Stan Casual (Charlie Budney ’12) nervously stumbles through a first date with Velma (Isabel Elson ’12), getting worked up about everything from the wine to the perils of being a man in a relationship. Velma, a mysterious tease, makes sure that the next thing she says is naughtier than what she said before, making Stan more and more nervous. He nearly jumps out of his seat when Velma places her hand on his leg. Things only become more complicated when Stan drops the bombshell: he’s married. Budney, a first-time DramaLab actor, skillfully navigates a complex character and script, while Elson, a veteran of the theater classroom, finds creative and funny ways to get what she wants. As a pair, Budney and Elson create the perfectly awkward first date. Don’t be so sure that you know how this DramaLab will end. Full of twists, “Today’s Special” will keep you on your toes. As Whittingham said, “Things aren’t always as they seem.” “Blue Christmas” Strippers, Elvis, cowboys and Christmas all come together to create one very funny DramaLab in “Blue Christmas,” directed by Kevin Song ’11. Filled with charity and sex jokes, the DramaLab takes place on a city street corner during the holiday season. George (Cliff Brannan ’11), a Salvation Army volunteer, has a permit for his corner and spends his time soliciting passersby. Things get complicated when Sammy (Tailor Dortona ’12), the not-so-friendly neighborhood hooker, shows up to take her usual place at the same corner. Feeling threatened by George, now her competitor, the prostitute tries to reclaim her corner at any means necessary. From bullying George to making him feel guilty about her pimp, Sammy’s tactics change constantly and provide endless entertainment. Song found directing very rewarding. “Last time, it was a pretty straightforward play. This one has more weird stuff, like groping someone in a Santa suit.” While Brannan has performed in a number of DramaLabs, this is Dortona’s first appearance in one. However, she makes playing an over-the-top character seem effortless. “Blue Christmas” is sure to provide endless laughs and memories of the holiday season. Look out for a special cameo from DramaLab-regular Eric Sirakian ’10.