Global Village, at the Performance Loft. Few would dispute that seeking “to break down the racial barriers of segregation…in a collection of theater pieces”–the Stage Actors Ensemble’s stated goal for its InterFest 2000–is a good thing. Bringing this idea to life, however, has proved difficult. The festival kicked off with Global Village, a collection of stories adapted from world folklore by director Tom Small. A second production meant to open last week–Cop, by local playwright Steven W. Long–was canceled due to “technical difficulties.” That’s too bad, because Global Village alone can’t carry the weight of the festival’s lofty goal.

While the multicultural sources of this 45-minute piece might be interesting–folktales from Japan, Kenya, Tibet, New Zealand, and other countries–the play is dull. All the stories, narrated by cast members, convey the same moral: Be careful what you wish for. Small’s simple staging is amateurish and his cast uninspired (except for R.J. Jones as Stonecutter and the god of war). Stilted deliveries and painfully slow movement (probably meant to look stylized) emphasize the show’s tedium, and Small relies heavily on telling rather than performing the stories. With three more shows still to open, the festival’s fate is not sealed–but fresh momentum is desperately needed.

–Jenn Goddu