For an interesting and innovative night of theater Dallas' Second Thought Theater invites you into a nondescript hotel conference room somewhere in the midwest for a sales training seminar. Complete with peel and stick name tags, coffee in styrofoam cups, videos and a motivational speaker this evening is like many sales trainings I have attended. One exception, here you won't be constantly wondering when will this end.
Eric Steele is the man behind the night where two movie shorts are complimented by a monologue by Barry Nash as Bob Birdnow our motivational Speaker. Each piece be it film or live centers around an event that changes the lives of its subjects in dramatic and permanent ways.
The evening starts with the film “Cork Cattlebarron” Robert Longstreet as Brady plays the ego filled boss perfectly. How many guys like this have I worked with, he knows it all, won't shut up, a general all around complete ass. Frank Mosley plays his top sales person, who is obviously struggling to tell his boss something, but to no avail. I was waiting for him to tender his resignation, when he finally does get to speak both of their lives are changed in dramatic and permanent ways. The irony of the piece is in the end you see the complete destruction of Brady's ego and the beginnings of that ego in his underling.
Our next video is “Topeka” the story of a traveling jewish salesman who ends up Hunter Wood plays Layne Edelman a New York salesman in town for a presentation, who in need of a cup of coffee ends up in a tiny coffee shop filled with a group of Westboro Baptist Church like devotees. One of the first things the diners pick up on is that his name is Jewish. I think I enjoyed this piece most, because it really speaks to the assumptions we make about people, usually based on stereotypes, and here the assumptions are not the ones you think they are. That would have been the easy way out, here the writer really gives us something more to think about.
The evening is rounded out with our motivational speaker, here to tell us about the harrowing event that changed his life and the lives of his best friends and their families in the most permanent way possible. A change that cannot be undone, and for which he ultimately feels, whether right or wrong, that he is responsible for. Barry Nash plays the uncomfortable motivator character perfectly. He is not only not comfortable in his role of motivator, he is reluctant to tell the story that he was brought here to tell. This is made all the more interesting by the fact that Nash is considered one of the top on air talent coaches for TV News in the US, he is the principal talent development coach for CNN. This was a perfect finish to the most interesting sales meeting I have ever attended.
Kudos to Second Thought Theater-a completely Green Theater. Your playbill is available by scanning a QR Code in the Lobby also, on your way out there is a confessional where you can leave your thoughts on their facebook page.
The Midwest Trilogy runs Thursday-Sunday through April 7 at Bryant Hall (next to Kalita Humphreys Theater), 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. Tickets, at www.secondthoughttheatre.com
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