SEQUIM – Olympic Theater Arts’ upcoming New Works Showcase, a production of eight previously unseen short plays by local playwrights, is an opportunity for everyone to get involved, director William Stone said.
The showcase runs Thursday through Sunday at the OTA Stage, 414 N. Sequim Ave.
Plays will be performed in groups of four, with an intermission of just under two hours, OTA chief executive David Herbelin said.
“All of the directors, writers and performers are committed to creating a fun and original evening unlike anything you’ll find in a standard theater play,” he said.
“Genres and themes range from deeply thought-out drama to fun slapstick comedy. Each script has been carefully crafted and produced with love.
Event times are 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for students — and pay what you want for the final dress rehearsal on Thursday. They are available online at olympictheatrearts.org or by calling the box office at 360-683-7326 from 1-4 p.m. through Friday.
Stone said the opportunity is not just for playwrights but also for inexperienced directors, actors and crew to try out new roles in a low-pressure environment.
Director Bailey Loveless said the sets are “essentially black box theatre; they are very simple blocks made into different shapes to represent different places. We also use hand tools.
“If there’s a common theme (among the plays) it would be human relationships…even in the silliest ones there’s an element of that,” Loveless said. “They are all very focused on human relationships and our responsibilities to each other.”
“A Decision Forever,” by veteran playwright Rebecca Redshaw, starring Kevin Breckenridge, Julie Borden, Donovan Rynearson and Cort Mao, will be Loveless’ directorial debut.
Redshaw, who was involved with OTA before moving to Mount Vernon, wrote of the play: “Two strangers meet years after life-altering tragedies. More than two decades have passed since the attack on the Twin Towers and more than 50 years since the attack on Munich. Martin has lived with a decision he made in the Olympic Village for years. He seeks and finds Florence in hopes that he can somehow ease the pain he knows she has been living with since 9/11.
Redshaw said it’s important for local playwrights to participate in local theatre.
“Theaters like OTA provide the perfect place to hone your craft,” she said.
Stone had the opportunity to direct two plays, one by an experienced playwright and the other by a novice.
Starring Jenny Brown and Ken Burland, comedy “The Miracle Shirker” was written by debut writer/actor Joel Hoffman.
It focuses on the relationship between a film producer and an actress as they attempt to market a script, asking the question, “What if Helen Keller lived in today’s world and was offered surgery to restore his sight or hearing?
“It’s funny and it’s heartfelt,” Stone said.
Stone also directs professional playwright John P. Bray’s drama “A Johnnie Walker Blue Christmas,” starring Graham Knott, Mario Arruda and saxophonist Alicia Barevich.
“I’m a huge fan of the music involvement,” Stone said. “A live sax brings a different dynamic.”
The romantic comedy “Last Train to Paris”, written and directed by John Painter, stars Matt Forrest, Nikki Mischke, Tara Dupont and William Stone.
“Minutes from hopping on a train that will take him to the job of his dreams, a determined young man meets three strangers who could change his life forever…a playful look at the twists of fate and our ability to recognize possibilities that life offers us,” Painter said.
Painter’s “Dance Your Dance” was the story of “five spirits who meet in a graveyard and realize that their lives have had a positive impact on the living.”
“Lost and Found” by writer Marlene Shinn Lewis, adapted from her anthologized short story, is directed by Herbelin and Olivia Shea.
“‘Lost and Found’ is a fun romantic comedy based on the investigation of a lost cell phone and how its location says a lot about who owns it. It stars the longtime actress of OTA Sarah Shea and Matt Forrest, Herbelin said.
Third-generation Sequim resident Sara K. Brabant, who said she hasn’t written anything since high school, took on the OTA challenge with “I Hate You Bob Ross,” featuring Sarah Shea, Anthony Richards and Katie Singletary , hosted by new director Taylor Dowley.
“The play features the main character in a sort of sanitarium as he tries to work through his many related emotional and mental issues,” Brabant said. “Everyone’s favorite painter appears and offers his trademark brand of advice and encouragement. The idea for the piece came from my own love for Bob Ross and the cathartic need to solve my own problems. ”
Also directed by Dowley, “Karate Cooking”, written by Ryan Macedo, stars Jenny Brown, Tara Dupont, Mario Arruda, Cort Mao and Kevin Breckenridge.
“This piece is a rollercoaster of a hibachi dinner for two patrons and a hibachi chef fresh out of culinary school,” Dowley said. “It will make you laugh and wonder why at the same time. ”
Emily Matthiessen is a reporter for the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is made up of Sound Publishing Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Contact her at [email protected]