Several Lethbridge theatre groups are getting ready for the Chinook One Act Play Festival, March 31 at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre.
“We have a wide variety of plays. Some years it is a challenge to get plays because of the rules,” said Kate Connolly, taking over as organizer of the festival from Rita Peterson, who decided she needed to take a break. She said it was difficult to find one act plays to perform in previous years, though that has changed.
The rules are pretty simple this year, plays must be between 10 minutes and an hour long, and must be stand alone productions.
“You can’t just take an act out of another play,” she said.
“Now there seems to be a lot more diversity for one act plays,” she continued. A trip to Boston last year for The Boston Theatre Marathon featuring 50 10-minute plays from about the same number of theatre groups throughout the day, opened her eyes to just how many one act plays were out there.
“And they were all very good, there were only one or two that I wouldn’t see again,” she continued.
She was a natural fit for director of this festival.
“Rita Peterson wanted to take a break. And I‘ve been her faithful servant for the past five years, so I was happy to do it,” she enthused. She is pleased to have University of Lethbridge drama department chair Doug MacArthur on board as this year’s adjudicator.
He will give his feedback to to all the performers and give out awards for best play, best male actor and best female actor.
“We‘ve been very happy with our adjudicators. Lethbridge has such a wealth of talented adjudicators that we never have to look elsewhere,” she said.
This year’s submissions range from the shortest one clocking in at 12 minutes, to a 50 minute production. The others range from 15-20 minutes performed by three local community theatre groups and two from the university.
Three of them are original works and the others are scripted.
Several Lethbridge theatre groups have entries in the the 2012 One Act Play Festival.
Lethbridge Playgoers have a huge role in the festival, with two plays and Ed Bayley volunteering to be stage manager for the whole night
Playgoers of Lethbridge members have a couple entries.
The longest one is an original work “A Fork in the Road” by Jennifer Schmidt-Rempel, publisher of Lethbridge Living. It will be directed by Playgoers of Lethbridge veteran Stephen Graham. It is about three strangers at a bus stop who share their stories.
“He’s been trying to get this one on stage for a long time,” Connolly said.
Lethbridge improv group Drama Nutz will be putting on Chicago playwright David Ives’ “The Philadelphia” about a young man in a restaurant who finds himself in a Twilight Zone style scenario in which he can’t get anything he wants unless he asks for the opposite.
Senior University of Lethbridge drama student Greg Wilson will be putting on a play about crayons and an evil pencil sharpener — a theatre for young audiences production he has adapted for adults.
Last but not least, Connolly, who won last year’s Chinook Regional One Act Play Festival with her one man show, is in Sybel Rosen‘s “Do It For Dog and Bear,” a quirky play directed by Elaine Jagielski about a dog and a bear in a tree, two wildlife biologists and a “love starved Russian beauty”
The winner of the festival goes on to the provincial festival in Camrose on April 13-14 in the Bailey Theatre, one of the last original vaudeville theatres, which has been recently renovated. The plays will be judged for a few more awards including best director, best original script and best technical.
Admission to the festival costs four dollars. It begins at 7 p.m. in the Sterndale Bennett Theatre.