Fresh Ink Shorts- this evening of 11 quick stories should be on your Fringe list

-Brenda Hillegas

You may know the name R. T. “Bob” Bowersox from the QVC show In the Kitchen with Bob, a long-running series on the shopping network. After his time at QVC, Bowersox moved to the Florida Keys where he founded the theatre company, Theatre XP. Now, Bowersox has returned to Philadelphia to debut his series, Fresh Ink Shorts, at the 2022 Fringe Festival. You can experience this evening of short plays now through September 18th in the intimate black box space, The Skinner Studio, at Plays and Players (1714 Delancey Place).

Fresh Ink Shorts was developed by Bowersox and his wife Melody D. Moore, with additional writers Stephen Olsen and Neal Ruchman. The four of them penned a number of “fresh” short plays and their concept of a collection of tiny stories back to back was born. The cast- Johnny Fernandez, Sam Gugino, Jordan Hunter-Fidalgo, Blair Johnson, Laura Kate Marshall, Craig Starrod, and Kathryn Wylde- take the audience through 11 tales – from grocery checkout lines, affairs, the loyalty of a dog, an evening at a bar, chance encounters, and more. All of these shorts tell a story in just the right amount of time (ranging from a few minutes to twenty minutes, totaling a unique 75-minute show). Yet, so many could be expanded upon if given the chance. We’re exposed to bits of stories and given enough information to head home and think “what might happen next in this one…?”

When I spoke with R.T. “Bob” Bowersox recently about the Philly premiere of the show, he said “there are a number of very good writers out there who can’t get their full-length plays produced, but who have a lot of talent. And because an evening like this requires 10-12 plays, we can give those writers a stage to show their works… When written well, shorts can be a lot of fun — and evenings of them are great for the audiences too, because if one play isn’t to your exact liking, a few minutes later, you’re going to get another one that will be.”

I’m always so amazed at how actors can move from one character to the next, without leaving the stage and without the use of props. These seven do it so gracefully, becoming someone new in a matter of minutes. Fresh Ink Shorts is a perfect concept and while we’re just kicking off Fringe Festival 2022, I’d say if you only have a chance to see a couple shows this season make sure this one is on your list.

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