Theater buffs dream: 7 Prize Winning Plays in 3 Days
Audiences get to see it all: set-up, performance, tear down and critique. Starting with a bare stage, each company must perform its play within 60 minutes, with no more than 10 minutes beforehand to fully set the stage and 10 minutes at the end to strike their set. Adjudicators then give their critique.
The 7 plays represent a wide range of dramatic styles, from serious pathos to light-hearted musicals:
“Catchin' the Babies” by Susan Short Gilbert is a recounting of the stories of Annie McFarlane (the author’s real-life great-great grandmother), who was half Irish and half Cherokee, a midwife, and an herbalist. It will be performed by City Circle Acting Company (Iowa).
“My Left Breast” by Susan Miller is the personal yet humorous exploration of one woman’s fight against breast cancer. It will be performed by the Robidoux Resident Theatre (Missouri). Because of mature subject matter and content, it is not recommended for children.
The Salina Community Theatre (Kansas) will present “Rabbit Hole” by David Lindsay-Abaire. It also explores a mature theme revolving around a young couple who have lost their small child in a tragic accident. The play gives a glimpse into a family that is very much like our own, coping with loss as any family might.
The Aberdeen Community Theatre (South Dakota) presents “Honk” by George Stiles & Anthony Drewe. “Honk” is a new musical based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling wherein the extraordinary “Ugly” finds himself lost on a marsh in the middle of a duck-shoot.
“The Real Inspector Hound” by Tom Stoppard, presented by Sweet Charities Theatre Company (Minnesota), is like the Twilight Zone meets Agatha Christie. Two critics, a murder (or 2 or 3), and fantastical stock characters perform a play within a play as they try to enact a horribly written murder mystery "Murder at Muldoon Manor."
“Take Five” by Westley M. Pederson is also a play within a play. The actor on opening night tries to perform on an unfinished set, other actors fail to show, an audience member uses the onstage phone to argue with his wife, props fail, technical cues are off, and inept stagehands do their worst. It is presented by Minden Community Players (Nebraska).
“A Gaggle of Saints” by Neil LaBute will be presented by Chameleon Theatre Circle (Minnesota). This two-character scene is a contrast between an innocent all-American girl, and her gay bashing all-American boyfriend, John. The two separately recount an overlapping story of their vacation together, until the point where John describes a late-night murder in the park. (Parental advisory)
Blue Springs City Theatre (Missouri) will present an 8th play, a non-adjudicated showcase piece, entitled “All in the Timing” by David Ives.
AACT holds this nationwide play competition, entitled “AACTFest,” every two years. The Region 5 AACTFest, held at the Liberty Performing Arts Theatre, is the next step to the final competition for theatre companies from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota. The winning company will go on to compete against the theater companies from nine other regions representing the rest of the nation in Charlotte, N.C.
For a complete AACTFest schedule, more information, full synopsis of each play, directions, or tickets ($20.00 per each 2-play session), visit the Liberty Performing Arts Theatre website at www.LPAT.org or call 816.792.6130. The LPAT is located at 1600 S. Withers Rd.
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