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“Theater? Oh god, it’s gonna take three hours out of my life and mucho bucks out of my pocketbook. We’re going to have to dress up, and eat somewhere first, and park, and… oh, never mind, let’s stay home.”

If you’ve ever thought those thoughts, then how about something completely different, as those Monty Python fellas used to say? USF St. Pete’s Short & Sweet Theatre Week is a mini-buffet of theatrical entertainments, none over an hour, performed in casual settings, outdoors in some cases, on USFSP’s waterfront campus. The vibe is casual, the commitment’s minimal, and… it’s all free! Launched last year by USFSP Public Art Coordinator Ann Wykell, the S&S offerings are a boon for students and non-students alike, because the artists she has recruited are among the most talented theater folks in the region. 

The “Week” really is short — only three days total, and one day has already gone by. But looking at the lineup for today and tomorrow,  I can almost guarantee that the experience will be, as promised, sweet.

Here’s a sampling: 

Improv at the Edge: Top local improv duo Hawk and Wayne in a  half hour of improvised comedy. Come for the laughs, stay for the free improv workshop afterwards. Tuesday, 3/10 5:30 p.m., The Edge, Bayfront side of Heller Hall. 

Dancing Alone and Together: Professional dance artists in a series of solos and duets in a wide range of style: modern dance, contact improvisation, African-inspired dance with drummer, and more. Performers include: Charlotte Johnson, Helen Hansen French, Bryan and Erin Cardinale, Crystal Delgiudice, Katurah Robinson and drummer Don Laurin. Wednesday, 3/11, 6:45 p.m., deck outside Poynter Library.

Chew On This: An intimate look into the great equalizer of all living things… FOOD! Hear stories of mom’s cooking from Jamaica to Italy. Listen to the tale of a miracle at McDonald’s, and watch love blossom at a coffee shop. A compilation of interviews by USFSP journalism students, plus monologues and scenes written by Lisa Tricomi with Jim Rayfield and directed by Lisa Tricomi (The Royale at American Stage), and starring four terrific actors: Bonnie Agan, Juliana Davis, Joe Ditmyer and Benjamin Ismail. Not-quite-dinner-theatre: Come early and enjoy a Theatre Week menu of light food and beverages offered by The Grind Coffee Café. Tuesday, 3/10, 6:30 p.m.; Wednesday, 3/11 at 5:30 p.m., The Grind Coffee Café, 121 7th Ave. S.

A Light Supper Before the End of the World: A series of mini-dramas by Matt Cowley, who is truly, as billed, “St. Pete’s master of the absurd” — or, to put it another way, a really witty guy. Directed by Vickie Daignault and performed by another stellar lineup: Coky Aguilera, Ned Averill-Snell, Renata Eastlick, Katelyn McKelly, and Kate Young. Tues., 3/10, 5:30 p.m., The Edge, Bayfront side of Heller Hall.

PS: Both Chew On This and Light Supper were commissioned by the Theatre Week Food Project, which showcases through theater the centrality of food in our lives and culture. Audiences are invited to make a donation to help USFSP’s recently opened Support-A-Bull Market food pantry obtain a refrigerator and offer fresh food to the members of our community who need it.


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