Theater Reviews: A Peculiar Crossroads and Issac's Eye

Two beloved historical figures are dramatized with disparate results at Tampa's Silver Meteor and Sarasota's Urbanite.

A Peculiar Crossroads:
A Celebration of the Life and Art of Flannery O’Connor

(3.5 stars out of 5 stars)
Aug. 20-30, Silver Meteor Gallery, 2213 E. Sixth Ave.Ybor City, Tampa. 813-300-3585.
7 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. $12, $10 students and seniors.

Isaac’s Eye
(2.5 stars out of 5 stars)
Through Sept. 6. Urbanite Theatre, 1487 Second St., Sarasota. 941-321-1397.
8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays. $20, students with I.D. $5.

“Flannery O’Connor: A One-Woman Play” is simply too short. The 30-minute monologue, compiled by Kerry Park from O’Connor’s letters, essays, and addresses, could happily be twice or three times the length. Who wouldn’t want to spend a good hour-and-a-half with this comic, erudite, incisive commentator on the South, religious faith, and the art of writing short stories? O’Connor, as impersonated by the talented Betty-Jane Parks, can talk about Dostoevsky one moment, and “thousands of pigs butchered daily at the Armour packing plant” the next. She can refer reverently to her Catholic faith, and then worry that the church might just “turn into another Elks Club.” And she can explain things about her own stories — filled with damaged, broken, even freakish characters — by saying that “to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost blind, you draw large, startling figures.”