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August 20, 2013 > Theatre: Local playwrights show their stuff in 'Summer Shorts'

Theatre: Local playwrights show their stuff in 'Summer Shorts'

Submitted By Mary Galde

Broadway West Theatre Company proudly presents the ninth annual "Summer Shorts," which features staged readings of 10-minute original plays written by budding playwrights from the Bay Area and beyond.

"Summer Shorts" was started in 2004 as a vehicle for some friends who were writing plays to take a look at their work. After the first year, organizers began to send out calls for scripts to local playwrights and received about 30 or so a year. Last year, however, a message was posted on a national playwright newsletter and over 500 scripts were received from all over the world including Australia, England, and New Dehli. It was more than overwhelming.

This year there was no call for scripts, but about 10 submissions were received from local playwrights whose work Broadway West has presented before. Sifting through this year's and last year's submissions, 11 pieces have been selected. While the desire is to keep this a local playwright event, three from out-of-state have been chosen to join the six local playwrights.

The format is simple - all the actors hold onto their scripts, but movement, props, and furniture are included to make the scenes as interesting as possible. The actors are all Broadway West regulars, and they always have a great time putting on a show with the least amount of rehearsals and without the stress of learning lines. It also gives budding directors a chance to try their hand at directing without the stress of a full-blown production. For the playwright it's a great way to see his/her work in action; it becomes much easier to figure out if changes to the script are necessary.

Most of the pieces are light-hearted, with one dramatic piece about a Viet Nam veteran and his daughter, but the subject matter is all over the place. "The Last Latte" by Caryn Huberman Yacowitz (Palo Alto) is about a dying woman's request for a designer coffee drink. Paul Brumley (Fremont) tells about a man who is suffering from job-related stress in "The Help Desk." Two women deal with a GPS system in Stanley Mazor's (Los Altos) "To Home," and "Time for a Fix" by Earl T. Roske (Fremont) focuses on a couple and a time machine. "The Medicine Cabinet" by Rod McFadden (Walnut Creek) looks at a couple and trust issues, while "Last Words" by Jeff Carter (San Francisco) is about a dying man's shocking death-bed confession.

Some of the participating "Summer Shorts" playwrights are published and nationally recognized, while many are budding writers trying to get their feet wet, including some Broadway West actors (Ross Harkness, John Lawrence, Helene Clarkson, Brian Couch, and Kyle Smith) whose work has been presented in years past. Earl T. Roske is a Bay Area playwright whose short plays have appeared before audiences around the world, from his hometown of Fremont, to Australia, to Mumbai, India. Paul Brumley has been creating both dramatic and comedic sketches for over twenty years, and is currently the lead writer for Harbor Light in Fremont. Brumley recently published a collection of his work entitled "Pencil This In."

Caryn Huberman Yacowitz is an award-winning Bay Area children's book author and playwright, and Rod McFadden has received awards in national playwriting competitions for three of his plays as well as receiving the People's Choice Award at the 2012 InspiraTO Festival in Toronto. Many of his plays have been performed all over the Bay Area. San Francisco playwright Jeff Carter has been produced in Los Angeles, Boston, and New York, as well as other cities. He is the winner of the John Gassner Playwriting Award, Pacific Repertory's Hyperion Award, and a finalist for the O'Neill Conference and the Heideman Award. His latest play, "Pastoral Paranoia," will be produced by Scorpio Theatre in Canada.

The "Summer Shorts" evening is always enjoyable; the price is right, and with each piece being short, the audience gets a good deal of variety. Tickets are just $10 (first come, first seat), and wine, punch, coffee and hors d'oeuvres will be served, which are included in the price of admission.

Summer Shorts
Friday, Aug 23 and Saturday, Aug 24
8 p.m.
Staged readings of 10-minute original plays
Broadway West Theatre Company
4000-B Bay St., Fremont
(510) 683-9218
Tickets: $10

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