Director Joseph L. Megel and lighting designer Kathi O'Donohue cast a spell in the first moments of Jeff Sheppard's "2000 Fish," the second half of a disparate one-act collection at the Powerhouse titled, "Raise The Wind."
Darlos (Brigitte Kempt), journeying to her childhood home, stands still in a downstage corner while her Angel (Christi Taylor-Jones) gives her courage from the windy, upstage atmosphere. It's a scene of fine poetry, suggesting beauty and dread in the viewer's mind while explaining little.
Both Sheppard's dialogue and Megel's vision lose all cadence and mood after this, as Darlos speaks with her mother (Hilary Hartman) about a man's death--a man she believes to be her father. The mother is giving birth to Darlos, yet the warping of time never achieves the revelatory effect Sheppard intended.
Roger Gillis' "All Talk," directed by Eric Engdahl, is typical of the scattered, eclectic one-act collections Theatre of N.O.T.E. (the show's co-producer) specializes in. Gillis' people are usually lonely folk needing a sympathetic ear, but none of their stories make us care. It's amazing, in fact, that their poor judgment--like that of the woman (Judy Levitt) who takes in a lazy single mother (Julie Melander) in the segment called "Cowbird"--doesn't get them into deeper quagmires than they're already in.
The performances in both halves never come into their own. But in a company that insists on doing scenes instead of plays, there's no time to develop personae.
Performances at 3116 2nd St., Santa Monica, on Sundays, 4 p.m., indefinitely. Tickets: $8; (213) 392-6529.