Sunday, November 25, 2012

Jumping "Out of the Box" - Celebrating the Short Stage Play in Southwest Michigan

How to support your community theatre? Show up!
On the evenings of Friday, November 30, and Saturday, December 1, the Box Factory for the Arts will host the Out of the Box Playfest.

Eight ten-minute plays, selected from submissions to the first Out of the Box Playwrighting Competition held earlier this year, will be performed in a reader's theatre format.

The contest was open to playwrights in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. It emphasized creating plays suitable for community theatre actors and audiences. (Translation: smaller casts, manageable props, few explosions, no elephants. That sort of thing.)

Judges will evaluate and score the plays during the performances, naming the top three plays at the end of the second evening. An Audience Choice award will be presented to one play each evening.

Last Friday, Berrien Artist Guild President Judy Sokolowski, actor Chase Samuelson, and I were featured on WSJM's "In the Spotlight" with Brenda Layne, talking about the playfest and our roles in it. I suspect I was invited because everyone else they asked, including Director Greg Ladewski and Artistic Director Lisa Kelleher was away for Thanksgiving. No matter. It's always fun to be in a radio studio.

I am honored that one of my plays is in the running. I'm really looking forward to seeing something I've done performed live before an audience and seeing the reaction it gets.

The plays that will be performed each evening are:
Community theatre: few explosions. No elephants.

Cleaning Up by Pearl Ahnen
Divorced Playwright by Maureen Perideaux
Detection by Greg Ladewski
The Interview by Ami Hendrickson
Beep by Bob Lawrence
Laundry Day by Debra Davis
Conversation by Sandra Thompson, and
What Dog by Lynn Spear.

Hare & Tortoise (and a Pair of Ducks), an additional play by Greg Ladewski, will also be performed, though it is not entered in the competition.

Good luck to all contestants!

Doors open at 7:00 p.m. both nights, with performances beginning at 7:30. General admission tickets are $10 each; seniors and students get in for $8. If you're in the Southwest Michigan area and enjoy the energy and camaraderie of community theatre, come on out and see the premieres of these eight original short works.

*  While writing this, I had hoped to include a link to each playwright's website and a short blurb about each play. Every attempt was made to do so, but with -- as you can see -- minimal success. If you are one of the playwrights listed and you have an online presence, let me know in the comments and I'll remedy the situation with an appropriate link in this post. A.H.

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