Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Home on Deranged' - Plays on Words

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Home on Deranged' - Plays on Words

Article excerpt

Byline: TAMARA McCLARAN

Jacksonville playwrights Chris Sheppard and Jeff Grove are bringing a trio of humorous one-act comedies to Players by the Sea. Home on Deranged will open Friday and run through Saturday, Aug. 23, in the Players studio theater.

"They're basically bizarre stories that are funny," Grove said about the works.

"The stories that we chose to do have things that have happened to us that we look at in our own humorous style," Sheppard added.

The three plays are Dinner With the MacGuffins, And Your Mama, Too! and Knockers. Sheppard and Grove selected the three works not only because they all take place in a living room and could use the same set, but also because the plays share a twisted comic sensibility. The playwrights use improvisational skills to create their works and they say they like to deliver a few surprises.

"The common thread in each of these works is that we deliberately mislead the audience," Grove said. "Just when they think they know what's going to happen, we pull the rug out from under them."

Sheppard and Grove have been collaborators and involved in the local theater scene for years. The duo have co-authored seven plays that have been published and performed in about 140 productions in six countries on four continents.

Dinner With the MacGuffins, which revolves around a picture-perfect family harboring a sinister secret, was first performed in December 2004 by students at Stanton College Preparatory School, where Grove is a drama teacher. Since the script was published in 2005, it has been performed in the United States, in Canada, Australia, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.

Grove's class also performed Dinner With the MacGuffins at a Florida high school thespian competition, where Players by the Sea volunteer and repertory committee member Holly Gutshall was a judge. …

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