There was humour in both the original, short plays that opened at the Heritage Playhouse last Saturday night - the kind of humour that makes you want to weep. Good, honest chuckles followed by dark, sardonic insights. Bruised Apples by Marilyn Browning (directed by John Keates) and Seasick by Louise Phillips (directed by Duncan Fraser) are one-act plays, both written and performed by the playwright and both in need of some buffing and polishing before being brought to the stage. Yet they are both the cream of the crop when it comes to contemporary themes and fresh characters. Seasick featured a fine performance from Sandy Hook author Phillips, who played various roles - an environmental fund-raiser, a staid 50-year-old on vacation, an Australian music fan and a sea turtle - with equal skill. The message is about survival: of the coral reefs of Australia, of the giant sea turtles that dwell nearby and of middle-aged singles who need to seize life before it disappears. Bruised Apples portrays Myrna, a resident of an extended care home, who observes more than she can handle: abuse of one resident by another, the reluctance of a visiting son to be with his dying mother, the loneliness of her own life. Browning has constantly improved as a performer with each of her recent shows (Seascape and Black Deeds in Whitehorse). She displays an ease and integrity with the part of Myrna and was helped along by a cast of five including Derek Browning as the son, Karen Webb as the nurse and Dorothy Fraser as the new roommate. Apart from a few awkward scene shifts, the cast helped turn a dramatic reading into an almost complete staged play. In an emotional moment following the performance, Browning introduced the inspiration for her piece, the true Myrna (not her real name), who had watched from the audience and pronounced Browning's story as having hit the mark.