by Kirby Lindsay
For only two weeks, from May 13 to May 23, Stone Soup Theatre (4035 Stone Way N) – Seattle’s only one-act company – will stage the 4th Annual Playwright’s Festival. Each night of the Festival will feature a selection of one-act plays, by local, national, new, experienced, dramatic, comedic and/or award-winning playwrights.
Stone Soup received over 300 script submissions for the 2010 Festival – all read by intern Catherine Smith. Through a blind jury process, the original works were evaluated with 16 being produced at Stone Soup for the enjoyment of audiences eager to see something new. Nine of the plays – which vary widely in subject, tone and topic - will be performed over the first week of the Festival, and seven others over the second. The three described here will all be in the first week’s offerings…
Carolynne Wilcox admitted she has “been an actor forever, it feels like.” Fremonster Wilcox lived near the Fremont Troll for nearly 13 years, and still works a day job here as Office & Public Relations Manager for Stone Soup. As an actor, “my ability to work depends on someone else,” she explained.
A playwright since 2003, Wilcox got into writing and producing as a way to be creative without waiting on others. She anxiously looks forward to having one of her plays produced at Stone Soup. “For me, just that I get accepted into a festival that had 300 submissions,” has been a big source of pride, she admitted. “This will be the first time this is going up,” she said, “this is a great opportunity to see how this works, or doesn’t; a short run where it will fly, or it will flop.”
According to Wilcox, the play concerns a “cheesy, Vegas-lounge fortune teller,” who is a fake, and knows she is a fake, “and something happens.” Directed by Mari Geasair, with Assistant Director Christopher Martinez, the cast features Persephone Vandegrift, Elizabeth Deutsch, Paul Walk, and Roy Arauz.
“He Is Gonna See Stars”
Wilcox also got a role in the Festival, in a piece written by Lavina Roberts, a playwright from Kansas. Wilcox plays Rebecca, and Rozzette deGuzman plays her daughter Laura. Director Arlene Martinez Vazquez described the script as “very complex. There is a lot implied.” Martinez admitted, “I’ve been very lucky that Carolynne is a playwright,” and could help figure out subtleties and the author’s intentions during rehearsals.
The brief story, told in a harsh, realistic manner, concerns a homeless mother and her bright, frustrated daughter. The play involves a lot of prop handling. “I’m a playwright that likes to use as few things as possible,” Wilcox admitted, but she also explained that use of items creates a rhythm for this story. As Martinez clarified, “this is about people,” without a permanent place, and “everything they have is in those boxes.”
This play, written by James Lyle, shows an easy-going, comedic – and nude – surface as it delves deeply into gender roles. “It’s a fascinating exploration that highlights the double standards that exist in society,” explained director Zachariah Robinson. Besides directing, Robinson also served as the driving force to getting this clever piece into the Festival. When Stone Soup founder, Maureen Miko, mentioned to Robinson that she wanted more ‘quality scripts from local authors,’ he nagged Lyle. Robinson had read Lyle’s script last year when the two performed together in Durang7 at Stone Soup, and convinced him to submit.
For this first staging, Lyle took a role - as The Man (or ‘Adam’) – opposite Alexandra Novotny, as The Woman (or ‘Eve’.) When asked about performing his own piece, Lyle allowed that, “it hasn’t been hard.” He approached the work as an actor, “the writer is totally not here; he’s not in the room,” he explained. Lyle does hope to see the play produced again, without him in the cast, and to see others work with the material. Robinson admitted, “I wanted to see it done the way he wanted it done,” and felt confident, “if I were to go way wrong, he’d be able to tell me.”
Beyond these, 13 other plays will be performed, over two short weeks – some with adult content (as well as nudity) so parental discretion is advised. Performances take place Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8p.m., and Sundays at 2p, to give everyone several chances to experience this unique opportunity at original, short plays. This Festival comes but once a year so get tickets now so you don’t miss out!
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.