Kindergarten applications almost overwhelm unsuspecting employee

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Be ready to be astounded by a one-woman 75-minute one-act play where local actress Jennifer Mays plays 40 (yes, 40) different characters in rapid=fire switches from one to the next without so much a catching her breath between character voices and body language in The Unicorn’s latest production, “Application Pending” that opened Dec.10.

Cynthia Levin, producing artistic director always finds challenging plays for her audience’s enjoyment, but this time, she challenged the actress to create a wealth of eccentric characters and switch back and forth with seemingly ease. “Application Pending” by Greg Edwards and Andy Sandberg is directed for the Unicorn by Ian R. Crawford and features Jennifer Mays as Christine. Levin announced on opening night’s curtain speech that this K.C. production is the first production since the show closed Off-Broadway,

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In “Application Pending” Jennifer Mays plays Christine Evans, a kindergarten assistant who is promoted from classroom to the head of kindergarten admissions with no notice. The show opens with her arriving for her first day on the job after her predecessor has moved on to pursue other options. Accordin to a Unicorn press release, Mays plays over forty wild characters in this side-splitting tour de force.

“Christine is swamped with one hell of a first day as a kindergarten admissions officer for a prestigious Manhattan prep school,” a Unicorn spokesman said. “The phone is ringing off the hook, but Christine must keep her cool as parents will stop at nothing to get their little angels admitted.”

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“Jen Mays is doing one of the hardest things that any actor has to do…holding an entire show together all by herself in the most clever and skilled way. I saw “Application Pending” yesterday, and her talent and wit makes you want to stand up and applaud her about a dozen times through the 85 minutes,” Darren Sextro, local director, said.

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Sextro is right. The performance is extraordinary. Mays gives a tour-de-force performance from the moment she steps into the office through her curtain call. She gives an exhausting performance that leaves the audience gasping for air. She’s in constant motion and shifting characters with precision. Her professionalism in approaching this part gave Cynthia Levin pause. Levin said that Mays came to the first rehearsal already prepared, fully memorized, and off book. The preparation paid off for the audience.

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The Unicorn’s new production, “Application Pending” comes with a strong recommendation. It’s a fun show and the acting is sublime. Jen Mays always gives strong performances, but outshines previous performances with this one-woman show. All acting students in the KC Metro need to watch her work through this piece. Mays gives a master class on how to prepare and develop characters in “Application Pending.”

Give credit to director Ian R. Crawford and the entire production team.  They all did a good job of making this show tight, focused, and moving.  The sound, the lights, the props, all helped make this a one of a kind evening.  The behind the scenes professionals make a show sink or swim.  This one is like an Olympic relay race.

”Application Pending is on Unicorn Theatre’s Jerome Stage located at 3828 Main Street, Kasas City, MO64111. The show runs Dec 7 – 26. Playwright Andy Sandberg will share his insights into the show at a Featured Friday talkback after the performance on Dec. 16 with free coffee and dessert. Performances run Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m., and Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

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Any person unable to afford a ticket, may Pay What U Can at performances on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, because The Unicorn believes art is for everyone. The week of Christmas, there will be a Monday performance on Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. There will be no performances on Dec. 24 and 25.

The closing performance will be on Monday, Dec. 26 at 8 p.m. Tickets are now on sale. Call 816-531-PLAY (7529) EXT. 10, go online at the Unicorn website, or buy in person at the box office located at 3828 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64111. Special discounts are available for seniors (65+), students, and patrons under age 30.

Tags: Unicorn Theatre, “Application Pending”, Theater, Preforming Arts, Arts & Entertainment, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment, Kansas City, Kansas City Theater, Comedy

Images courtesy of Cynthia Levin and courtesy of The Unicorn Theatre and Cynthia Levin and courtesy of The U

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