By Josh Rogers
If you ever worry that there arent many good playwrights for the theater anymore, take heart, because six actors are showing off their skills every night at The Culture Project on Bleecker Street. Sides: The Fear is Real is written and performed by six Asian-American actors who know all too well how ridiculous actors, casting directors, and auditions can be.
The play, a series of skits with some recurring characters, is, above all else, funny. Sides refers to the written directions actors are given before auditions and the writers use real sides they or their friends have been given as a basis for the sketches. Theres Danbury Brackenbury III, a 5 6 Fillipino/American tone deaf actor who a director thought must look Puerto Rican with crumping and ghetto fluency a plus.
Sides does touch on the stereotypes ethnic actors face such as the casting director looking for an angry Korean deli clerk who asks an actor how he would feel if he were a doctor arriving from another country who was forced to work as a clerk in America.
Mostly the play avoids social commentary and goes for the joke and scores. The actors are most comfortable making fun of their colleagues, from an auditionee paralyzed by fear to the Shakespearean thespian who tries to be street.
Rodney To, whose roles include Brackenbury and a director named Ding Ding who is as bright as his name suggests, stands out, but the rest of the ensembleSekiya Billman, Jane Cho, Paul H. Juhn, Peter Kim and Hoon Leeall have their moments and play off each other well.
The friends have refined their play since first performing it a few years ago at the New York International Fringe Festival and hope to take it on the road. Before they do, you have the rest of the month to see that live comedy is indeed alive and well on Bleecker.
Sides: The Fear is Real. Written by Sekiya Billman, Jane Cho, Paul H. Juhn, Peter Kim, Hoon Lee & Rodney To and directed by Anne Kauffman. The Culture Project, 45 Bleecker St., through Oct. 30. (212-307-4100; ticketmaster.com)