The Mendocino College Theatre Arts Department will present the Twelfth Annual Festival of New Plays on Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16 at 8 PM in the College’s Little Theatre, Room 710 on the Ukiah campus.
The festival features ten new plays by local playwrights. Each play is approximately ten minutes long and will be presented at both performances. Some of the plays were developed in English professor Jody Gehrman’s writing classes; others were submitted by writers from throughout Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma counties. Gehrman is also the production’s dramaturge, helping develop the scripts.
The plays are directed by Mendocino College directing students under the guidance of theatre professor Reid Edelman. The short plays cover a wide range of topics and performance styles. This year, the festival will also feature original lighting designs and scenic assistance by students in the college Stagecraft class, under the direction of instructors Steve Wilson and David Wolf. According to Edelman, “This annual festival is one of the college theatre program’s most exciting projects, and this year’s line-up of plays is a very exciting mix.”
In “Skirt Steak Surprise,” by Kristin Hills, the year is 1958 and a couple is celebrating their anniversary, but there’s more to this “surprise” dinner than meets the eye. The director is Maria Monti; the cast includes Monique Marmon and Charley Sawyer.
Melany Katz is directing Jacquelyn Wells’ play “The Perfect Part,” a look behind the scenes at the inner workings and entangled relations in the theatre. Add in some lost love and a bit of painkillers, and this play is nothing but fun. The cast includes Garrett Schofield, Laurie Cipriani, Jason Davis and Stacey Sheldon.
In Maureen Studer’s play “The Hook Up,” under the direction of Amanda Katz, a suspense-filled comedy ensues when a couple gets a mysterious box delivered to their door. The cast includes Maxwell Hovland and Melissa Chapman.
Set in the late 1980s, Ian Stigliani’s play “Struck by the Love Truck” is a funny, heart-warming look at the innocence of young love and the complications that arise as young Collin learns that being yourself is the first step of attraction. Jason Davis directs a cast featuring Megan Regan and Todd Hale.
“Disturb the Universe,” written by Ukiah High School creative writing teacher Michael Riedell and directed by Chelsea Lovell, involves two men on a roof, each one convinced he needs to save the other. The cast includes Will Schlosser and Zeek Hadar.
In Jane Futcher’s “Oogitty Boogitty,” leaping to conclusions, missed connections and mistaken identities lead to amusing and mind-altering events in a hospital room shared by two older women. Virginia Hanley and Gabriel Suddeth are the co-directors. The cast includes Janet Denninger, Libby Guthrie, Ari Sunbeam, Marco Orozco and Sierra Alexander.
Don Samson’s “The Blind Date” shows what might happen when a no-longer-young woman snares a much-younger man using her much-younger photo online. Jonathan Whipple directs a cast featuring Jan Michele, Thomas Kenney, Pete Winslow and Gabriel Suddeth.
“The Bone Key: A Fractured Fairy Tale,” by Roseanne Wetzel, is a sequel to the Hansel and Gretel story—eight years later. The witch has changed the ending; she is still holding them captive, and has switched bodies with Gretel, who is determined to escape. The director is Mary Buckley. The cast features Ayla Decaire and Ellen Weed.
In Virginia Guleff’s “The Wellness Motivational and Proactive Living Hotline,” a distraught man calls a suicide hotline and is connected to a girl on the first day at her job. The play is both humorous and heart-breaking. The director is James Blake. The cast includes Jason Edington and Melany Katz.
Finally, the play “Auction Day,” by Scott Lummer, is a roller coaster (with its wheels about to fall off) ride for the headmaster of a private school, trying to keep standards high while keeping parents happy on the day of the school’s biggest fundraiser. The director is Jason Edington. The cast features Will Schlosser, Meghan Baker, Brad McClanahan and Kristin Hills.
Tickets are available for purchase in Ukiah at Mendocino Book Company and the Mendocino College Bookstore, and online at www.ArtsMendocino.org. This production is recommended for ages 14 and up, as some of the plays are for mature audiences and include disturbing themes. Admission is $10. This production is expected to sell out quickly, so audience members are encouraged to purchase tickets soon! For more information, call Reid Edelman at 468-3172.
Mendocino College is located at 1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah, California 95482.