The all-volunteer Five & Dime Theatre group is now three years old and in that time this unique group of theatre advocates has produced over a dozen plays at various venues in and around downtown Jacksonville. Several months ago, they launched the Second Sunday program.

This event, which is offered on the second Sunday of each month is free and open to the public, provides an opportunity for local actors, authors, poets, and storytellers to get on a stage and present their works in progress to a diverse audience. Afterward, the members of the audience participate by giving feedback, sharing observations, and providing encouragement and constructive criticism.

On Sunday July 12th, 2015, the Dual Critics attended the Sunday evening session at The Pangea Live, located in downtown Jacksonville. Audience members were provided with materials prior the beginning of the performance, which included a program with space for notes, instructions and expectations for giving feedback, and a post-performance assignment to one of four groups. The evening began with a brief introduction by coordinator Craig Leavitt, followed by four presentations. During the performances, the audience listened attentively, and took notes. After a brief break, we went to our assigned group area. Performers visited each group in turn, posed questions, answered questions, and responded to suggestions and feedback.

The first presenter of the evening was an attractive young lady in her twenties, Ryan Michelle Cordoba Haywood, who read two original poems entitled “Devil, Wolf” and “Cay Creek.” She had indicated in the program that she wanted to become more comfortable reading her work in front of others and wanted to improve her writing skills as well.  Her well-crafted poems reflected her emotional responses to painful past events.

2nd sunday 006The second presenter was Liz Flaisig, who has been a creative writing teacher at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts for the past eight years. Already an accomplished writer, she presented a short story, currently titled “Rosa,” based on an event in Brooklyn during World War II; a moving story about an Italian soldier who was held as a prisoner of war.  Ms. Flaisig wanted to see how the audience resonated with the story and its continuation. The presentation, by an accomplished speaker and writer, was excellent.

2nd sunday 014The third participant was Cameron Pfahler, a recent college graduate, who presented several stand-alone pieces with the topic of love as the focus. He showed great stage presence with good eye contact with the audience, and was especially impressive with the delivery of the poem “True Love,” as he put aside his notes and recited it from memory. Our discussion group agreed that he should give acting a try. Mr. Pfahler got his initial taste of theatre as the stage manager of “A Picasso” for The 5 and Dime.

2nd sunday 017The final performance of the July edition of Second Sunday was the cabaret act of BeBe Dee and Gerry Lee, who met and teamed up musically in Tallahassee, Florida. They moved to Jacksonville and have been playing nightclubs that cater to the younger crowd.  They are talented. BeBe Dee (who is actually Alex David Palmer) has a beautiful voice, and dresses as a drag queen; Gerry Lee’s keyboarding is marvelous. The music is bawdy at times, but in their words, they try “not to say anything too shocking.“ The Dual Critics really liked their version of “Rocket Man” and we participated in the audience sing-along; the lyrics: La, La, La, La, La, were easy to learn. They came to Second Sunday to network as they would love to venture into additional performance venues. Our group enjoyed the candor of these two young men, and had suggestions for expanding their performance horizons.

Second Sunday will take a break in August but will resume on September 13th beginning at 6:00 pm at The Pangea Live. Coordinator Craig Leavitt can be reached at [email protected]. Next up for The 5 & Dime is the prize-winning “Clybourne Park” at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens during July 31-August 9.

You can check out The 5 & Dime website at See “past events” for an excellent recap of their previous shows with photos. And for an interesting evening of performance arts and a chance to share your feedback, be sure to put Second Sunday on your monthly calendars.

About Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom

The Dual Critics of EU Jacksonville have been reviewing plays together for the past nine years. Dick Kerekes has been a critic since 1980, starting with The First Coast Entertainer and continuing as the paper morphed into EU Jacksonville. Leisla Sansom wrote reviews from time to time in the early 80s, but was otherwise occupied in the business world. As a writing team, they have attended almost thirty Humana Festivals of New America Plays at Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, and many of the annual conferences sponsored by the American Theatre Critics Association, which are held in cities throughout the country. They have reviewed plays in Cincinnati, Chicago, Miami, Sarasota, Minneapolis, Orlando, New York, Philadelphia, Sarasota, San Francisco, Shepherdstown, and The Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford, Massachusetts. They currently review about one hundred plays annually in the North Florida area theaters, which include community, college, university, and professional productions.