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by Rosemary Frisino Toohey

(Socks was staged as part of a double-bill along with Holidays In by Jim Sheehan at The Run of the Mill Theater. This page includes only those parts of the review focusing on Socks.)

New playwright gets to pull up her "socks"
by Mike Giuliano
August 3, 2005
Patuxent Papers
Copyright 2005

Local playwrights get to exercise their imaginations in the annual Baltimore Playwrights Festival, so it's par for the course that the double bill of one-act plays at Run of the Mill Theater is hardly run of the mill when it comes to setting and subject matter.

Neither play is very substantial, but they're both sufficiently surreal to divert your thoughts from everyday concerns.

Rosemary Frisino Toohey's "Socks" may well be the first play in the history of the universe to feature characters who are socks and a setting that is a clothes dryer. Considering this brief comedy is only 15 minutes long, it would qualify as a curtain-raiser if the subject weren't socks.

This unusual situation and the playwright's tone are as cute as you'd expect, but at least the play's brevity prevents it from becoming cloying.

Although the actors portraying four socks are not actually dressed as oversized socks, they have distinctive wardrobes that seem appropriate for the types of socks they represent. They also have individual names: Brad (Tim Elliott), Elaine (JaHipster), Meyer (Steve Lichtenstein) and Ceil (Kimberly Hannold).

Their dilemma is that they're all single socks separated from their mates, if one can put it that way. Bickering with each other and seemingly unable to escape from an all-white room that must seem like hell to them, they're existentially trapped in the clothes-dryer equivalent of Sartre's "No Exit."

Toohey indulges in every darned opportunity for socks-related puns, and the results are mildly amusing. If the play occasionally stubs its gold toe when it goes for big philosophical statements, the generally light mood makes it a diverting opening piece.

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