FEMME FATALITIES: FOUR ONE-ACT PLAYS BY WOMEN, Stockyards Theatre Project, at the Performance Loft. It’s unlikely that the most dramatic moment on opening night will be replicated: while a baby cried, two women engaged in a terse discussion ending in stony silence. Unfortunately, it happened in the audience during intermission. These four one-act plays (if you can call them that–two are scarcely developed scenes) are woefully unoriginal. The cast’s tepid performances don’t help.

Mary DeVeny’s Internet Love features a 45-year-old woman’s search for love on-line. DeVeny’s breezy performance lacks any sense of drama, and the script’s few jokes are lost in her overstated acting. Amy Nicole Patrick’s Closing Time is effectively an argument between two friends, one moving away while the less adventurous one remains behind. Uninspired acting renders such lines as “I’m leaving to make my dreams come true” even more trite. Another argument–this one between lesbian lovers who’ve discovered the infidelity of a friend’s partner–drives Lisa Rosenthal’s Perched on a Delicate Balance; director Jill Elaine Hughes’s static blocking and unwavering pacing underline the play’s abruptness and other weaknesses.

The finale, Kit Paraventi’s Budz, has the most potential. Tina Paraventi (opposite a stilted Owen Yen) brings some depth of personality to her role, making this sporadically funny, occasionally insightful play the evening’s highlight. Given the company, though, that’s not saying much.

–Jenn Goddu