Each summer, since 2005, Williamsburg’s Brick Theater presents a festival designed to disturb notions of good theater and good taste. These fetes have included the $ellout Festival, the Pretentious Festival, the Antidepressant Festival, to say nothing of the Baby Jesus One-Act Jubilee. This year’s iteration is the Too Soon Festival, which explores the heady pace of modern life and features 11 plays “performed and presented before their time.” However, many of the productions—such as RIP JD, an encomium to the admirably long-lived J.D. Salinger, and the improv comedy showdown Crash Test Dummies, hardly a new genre—bear little relation to that theme.
On a recent Tuesday, the Brick offered a more germane double-header of two rather mismatched heads—an action-adventure parody entitled Hack: An I.T. Spaghetti Western and Redbeard & Domicella, a story of a young marriage. Hack, by Crystal Skillman, a product of the Vampire Cowboys salon series, concerns a trio of computer nerds who discover that their mainframe has been invaded. Though it benefits from energetic performances and much silliness, this pastiche of westerns, War Games, and Streetfighter 2 can’t sustain its 75-minute running time. The play’s beginning zings like a broadband connection; its final 15 minutes is like waiting for a page to load on dial-up.
The slight, gentle Redbeard & Domicella trades tech crises for analog bliss. Playwright Kasia Nikhamina has written an autobiographical piece about her marriage to her high school sweetheart, actor and bike guru Ilya Nikhamin, performed by Nikhamin and actress Bodine Alexander. This portrait of a very happy union, though, is rather scant on drama and almost unbearably twee. When it ends, it isn’t too soon.