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Ready, Set, Life! 

"What happens to a dream deferred?" Poet Langston Hughes asked that, once. In "This is the Rest of Your Life!", one of two similarly themed short plays featured as part of the show "Ready, Set, Life!," writer/actor Geoff Kolomayz asks it, too. Kolomayz's play is a sometimes heavy-handed exploration of the tension between idealistic dreams and real-world concerns and expectations (and the twentysomething years, the time in a young man's life when he's forced to confront this tension head-on). It's also presumably a play about the dream of being an actor/play-writer; As a result "This is the Rest of Your Life!" comes across as somewhat self-indulgent. And it doesn't have a lot new to stay about the well-worn theme it's addressing. (People aren't happy when the give up their dreams, the play concludes---the revelation isn't especially earth-shattering). That said, Kolomayz is a talented actor, which makes his half of "Ready, Set, Life!" a lot of fun to watch---he plays over seven distinctly different characters in the course of the play; his grizzled "father character" is particularly great. In the end, the "This is the Rest of Your Life!" isn't spectacular, but it's worth checking out---if only to watch Kolomayz act his pants off, and to hear one of his female characters utter the excellent line "Dreams aren't sexy."

In her half of the show, "Quarter Life Crisis," writer/star Alison Lynne Ward takes a more tongue-in-cheek look at the same twentysomething pressures that Kolomayz addresses. Ward jokes about derailed ten-year plans, failed relationships, and the pressure of taking money from parents. It's funny---at one point, during the show, Ward points out that such whining is a little masturbatory and self-absorbed. At the same time, she's crafted an entire one-woman play about the issue. As a result, it becomes difficult to pin-point the play's tone---is it making fun of the quarter life crisis? Or is it seeking to legitimize the concerns that fuel it? Like Kolomayz, Ward's a charismatic performer, and for that reason, the show's relatively diverting. It's just hard to get behind a play that declares its own concerns to be shallow, but then proceeds to trumpet them anyway.

Showing: September 9, Khyber Arts Centre 3 (Turret), at 5:30pm; $7.

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