Ballard's plucky Live Girls! normally makes good theater. This edition of Quickies features many actors, writers, and directors who have done fine work with very little money illustrating complex emotions and concepts in productions like Fall Off Night and 800 Words. It's shocking that the end result here is so atrocious.

Of the six short plays that make up the show, the best is the first: Yog Sothoth, an H. P. Lovecraft–meets–The Stepford Wives lark written by Lia Romeo. It's funny and loose and just menacing enough to work. Unfortunately, it's also the shortest play of the night, and it feels almost like a trailer for a longer production. Things never improve. From the who-cares Southern gothic of Your Roaring Blood to the feels-like-an-acting-class-exercise of A Little Test, the plays occasionally brush against the bottom of mediocre before hurtling downward into the depths of bad-play hell. It's tough to watch two plays—Apricot Supernovas and 24 Pictures of a Pilot—that could be interesting with much more work and care get squashed into this mess.

It doesn't help that the whole thing is hosted by Shermona Mitchell. Mitchell doesn't talk about the contents of the plays at all, or tie the evening together. Instead she brings the cast out to do interstitial stupid human tricks, like juggling and beatboxing. It gives the whole affair the cheap feeling of a student-run improv night, a poor decision when half of the plays aren't comedies. As soon as it started, I wanted to leave, and as soon as I left, I wanted to forget. recommended