J. Wynn Rousuck, Sun Theater Critic, Published, July 13, 2006 © 2006- The Baltimore Sun

From Shakespeare to transit systems, from language usage to landscaping. The four one-act plays at Fell’s Point Corner Theatre, jointly titled The Past Is Present, tackle diverse subjects at the same time that they showcase some of the Baltimore Playwrights Festival’s more talented writing and acting. All four are by festival veterans. The middle two -Memory Garden and Wilderness, both by Mark Scharf – are distinguished by strong naturalistic dialogue and character development. In the first, a young widow (portrayed by Janise Whelan with a convincing blend of sensitivity and anger) visits the roadside memorial to her husband, who died in a motorcycle accident. Soon a man (Richard Peck) approaches, claiming to be a reporter who has been watching her here each week. His true identity soon becomes obvious. Less obvious is the revelation that there can be two sides to even the most seemingly black-and-white event. Wilderness also focuses on a widowed spouse – an elderly man who has let his yard go after his wife’s death. Steve Lichtenstein is appropriately crusty as the widower, and Whelan returns as a prim, officious emissary from the neighborhood. Here again, Scharf gives credible voice to a minority viewpoint.