Poignant and deadpan: Duo of plays over two weekends

Two very different plays, one poignant and one deadpan, will stream online on weekends from the Adobe Theater on June 26-27 and July 3-4.

“The Last of the Dutch Hotel” stars Matt Heath and Stephanie Jones. (Courtesy of Nancy Sellin)

Don Nigro’s one-act British comedy “The Last of the Dutch Hotel” opens the show with two elderly aristocrats lingering on the terrace of a summer resort. It’s the 19th century, complete with costumes, as they discuss love and their relationships.

Lady de Grey, patroness of the Royal Italian Opera, and Harry Cust, a newspaper editor who may be her lover, sit at the shore, full of suppressed regrets and dread. They endure the ministrations of a sinister waiter and observe some unspeakable, ambiguous and possibly horrifying events transpiring near the edge of the sea.

“It’s very British,” director Nancy Sellin said. “It’s a comedy with a lot of twists and turns. They look out at the ocean and see this monster eating a fornicating couple on the beach.

“It’s very dark; it’s a little left of center and it’s a little weird,” she added. “You see it through their eyes from a distance.

“They start thinking, ‘Is this us?’ ‘Is this purgatory?’ ”

“Homecoming” stars Michael Weppler and Marcus L. Ivey. (Courtesy of Philip J. Shortell)

Written by local playwright Peter Fisk, “Homecoming” is the story of two GIs on a train coming home from World War II. One (white) is a staff sergeant; the other (Black) is a porter and former Tuskegee Airman. Neither man wants to go home to Mississippi.

“The staff sergeant has been raised to not think highly of Black people,” director Philip J. Shortell said. “They get deep into conversation about what has changed since the war.”

The sergeant saw some fierce combat, bearing the facial scars to prove it.

The porter was shot down and treated in a British hospital. The experience was very different from what he would have received in Mississippi.

“They’ve both been in fierce battles,” Shortell said. “They’re both afraid to go home. They’re afraid of going back to what they came from after what they’ve been through. They both know they have changed, but what they came from has not changed.

“It’s a fascinating story about two men with vastly different backgrounds who have gone off and fought on the same side in the same war who are returning to a home they don’t want to return to.”

The actors rehearsed both plays at the theater. The crew filmed them with multiple cameras and edited the footage.

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