The food world calls it a buffet. You're not really sure what you want to order so you hit the smorgasbord and take a bit of everything. In theater, this is the one act festival – a little drama, a little comedy, a slice of a whodunit and maybe something uplifting for dessert. This July and August, Artists' Exchange will showcase 21 dishes across 6 weeks, some sweet, some mild, some sour and some bitter, something for every palate and for every appetite. The 7th annual One Act Play Festival will run tonight, July 19th through August 26th. Hope you're hungry.
This year's festival drew over 200 submissions, doubling last year's take, and for the first time included several entries from international playwrights. Of the 21 final selections, most are regional premieres, many are world premieres and several are by returning playwrights. Nineteen playwrights are included in this year's line-up, four of whom are local.
Providence's Lenny Schwartz gives us Moving Pictures, a play that encompasses an entire relationship in the span of ten minutes. Brian and Laurie are in a park and take a picture together. When they look at the picture, they discover it to be blank. They then fill in the picture with their memories until the picture reaches its final true image.
Smithfield's Barbara Schweitzer returns with the next installment of her Cyjoe Barker series in which the peace-prize winning detective is reunited with her partner Max O'Clapimen to solve the murder of Frank and Priscilla Perilla, newlyweds found dead in Frank's car showroom. In the middle of Amish country where worldly worries are meant to be worlds away, the detectives must weed out age-old corruption of the human heart. They also find a mean Swiss cheese and Trail bologna with mustard sandwich.
Providence's Holly Jensen penned Class Act, in which two high school students tell the tale of a school shooting from disparate perspectives leading to a startling revelation of the truth.
Fall River's Ben Jolivet gives us A Killing Frost, in which Claire wakes on Thanksgiving to discover Don, a drifter, asleep in her garden. Delighted, she locks him inside and rhapsodizes about seasons and stuffing. Don is less charmed. In trying to escape, he realizes more than a lock keeps him in the frost-bitten garden.
Other highlights include returning playwright Trace Crawford's play And What a Damn Fine Morning It Is, in which two suburban male stereotypes emerge from their houses one morning, and as they exchange pleasantries, their polite facade peels back to reveal a deep-seated mutual resentment.
New York City playwright Rich Orloff's A Womb with a View features a baby having second thoughts just before being born, to the consternation of everyone involved in the labor.
How Nice of You to Ask by Rich Rubin of Portland, Oregon focuses on a young person conducting a sex survey with a seemingly innocent woman in her 70s.
In Memory Box, Ohio's Chris Shaw Swanson shares a story of two girls packing a box with their favorite memories, ultimately leading them into unfamiliar emotional territory.
California's Mark Harvey Levine, a festival favorite, returns with the world premiere of The Folks, in which protagonist Wendy hears voices. And unfortunately for her, everyone else can hear them too.
That's just a taste of this year's offerings.
Audiences are invited to join in on the journey July 19th through August 26th in the Black Box Theatre at Artists' Exchange in Cranston. Each two week wave will showcase 7 of the 21 plays. For complete listings, visit www.artists-exchange.org. Artists' Exchange is located at 50 Rolfe Square in Cranston. For reservations, call 401.490.9475.
Artists' Exchange is a nonprofit arts collaborative whose mission is to create an atmosphere in which creativity, learning, and discovery converge and individuality is celebrated. Artists' Exchange houses The Black Box Theatre and multiple art studios, as well as a gallery, art boutique and café. With programs in art, music and theatre, Artists' Exchange offers enriching classes, birthday parties, and both weekly and monthly events.
Artists' Exchange is owned and operated by Gateways to Change; a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all human beings.