festival of new plays
October 24, 2023

17th Annual Festival of New Plays at Mendocino College


The Mendocino College Theatre Arts Department will present the 17th Annual Festival of New Plays on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, November 2, 3 & 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the College’s Little Theatre on the Ukiah campus.  The festival is a beloved Ukiah theatre tradition.  This year's festival features eleven new plays by local playwrights. Each play is approximately 10 minutes long and will be presented at each performance.  The plays were selected from among over 50 scripts submitted by writers from throughout Mendocino and other nearby counties.

The play directors are students in the Mendocino College theatrical directing class taught by Professor Reid Edelman.  Festival actors include students in the college’s conservatory cohort group, as well as other local students and community members. The short plays cover a wide range of topics and performance styles.  The festival also features original scenery, props, costumes and lighting under the direction of college Theatre Technician David Wolf, adjunct professor of costuming Kathy Dingman-Katz and professional guest lighting designer Steve Wilson. According to Edelman, “This annual festival is one of the college theatre program’s most exciting projects, and we are delighted to provide this creative forum for our community.”

This year’s festival opens with Chris Douthit’s literary romance "Filament, Filament, Filament," a celebration of the connective power of language.  It is a sweet romance budded from a love of poetry. The cast, directed by Cody Phillips, features Rickie Emilie Farah and Jordan Wegner. 

Next, “Hard Feelings” by Ellen Weed and directed by Valerie O'Riordan, is the bittersweet tale of a creative couple on the brink of dynamic changes to their present and future. The play features veteran local actors Jason Davis and Alicia Littletree Bales.

 “One Week Here, One Week There,” by Don Samson, is a poignant drama about a high school student and his relationship s with his alcoholic mother, his unaccepting father and his own identity.   The cast, under the direction of Kelly Alvarez, includes college theatre majors Les Clow, Phaedra Kincaid Swearengin and Matt McClelland.

John Pegan is directing Erin Gardiner’s play “It’s Just Dinner,” a character study set on the Mendocino Coast, exploring friendship, humor, loss, loneliness, the power of place, and the offer of new beginnings. The cast features Andrea McCullough, Rosemary Eddy and Juri Pinna.

Kyle Whitrock’s play “Imaginary Friends, Ghosts, or Whatever You Call It,” directed by Matthew McClelland, is about love, support, and friendship, even if they are “imaginary, ghosts, or whatever.” The cast includes college theatre students and alumni Scott Spears, Shannon Sawyer, Jasmine Norris, Julayne Ringstrom and Cindy Gunderson.

Full of love and laughs, Scott Lummer’s “Love Her Madly,” directed by Julayne Ringstrom,” is a silly romp through love's confusing maze that will leave you screaming for more.  The play features actors Brittani McKemy-Edwards, Phaedra Kincaid Swearengin and Schuyler Marcier..

In “The German Word for Oboe” by Neil DiBernardo and directed by Phaedra Kincaid Swearengin, Kath faces the very real fear that her husband Neddy may be about to give away the secret they’ve kept for over 30+ years and tear apart the life they’ve built together. The cast includes Schuyler Marcier, Brittani McKemy Edwards and Mario Gonzalez-Nuñez.  

Next, the evening continues with Deneb T. Hall’s surreal comedy “An Overabundance of Draculas,” directed by Percival Knutson, in which a man believing he is being cast for a movie of Tarzan, discovers he must embody that character of Tarzan for the rest of his life." The cast includes Mendocino College theatre students Matt McClelland and Eduardo (Lalo) Torres. 

In Francine Schwartz's time-bending "He and She" a man and a woman meet on a park bench and discover that it may not be their first meeting ... or their last. Rick Williams and Luis Flores play He, and Earlene Gleisner and Rickie Emilie Farah play She, under the direction of Neil DiBernardo.

In Michael Riedell’s play “Purity,” two young women find themselves victims of their innocence and struggle to make sense of an unjust fate.  The play is a chilling examination of the evil of political violence. Under the direction of Kyle Whiterock, the cast includes Kelly Alvarez and Wynona Idica.

Finally, the evening concludes with Logan Silva’s comedy “The Greasy Plank,” a play about Hamlet's adventure on the pirate ship. Silva’s play invites audiences to join the crew for a slippery walk along this plank.  In the words of pirate ship Hamlet, “To be or not to be?” Thar be yer question.”

Tickets are available in Ukiah at the Mendocino Book Company and online at www.ArtsMendocino.org, and at the door as available. This production is recommended for ages 13 and up.  Admission is $10. The performance on Thursday November 2 is  a”pay what you wish” preview. Audience members are encouraged to purchase tickets early. For more information, call Reid Edelman at 468-3172.​