At last year’s inaugural Yellow Point Drama Group Short Play Festival, president Armando dos Santos just wanted everyone to have a good time and to break even.
This year the festival has grown from six plays over two nights to seven plays over three nights and it all kicks off at Cedar Community Hall on Thursday, June 7.
“The mandate is the same,” dos Santos said.
“To give the opportunity to playwrights and people to direct plays that usually don’t see the light of day, because there is a lot of really good little plays that are gems that nobody sees.”
Nanaimo theatre groups dominate the lineup, although dos Santos said an effort was made to rope in groups from farther afield and he hopes to see more participation in the future.
June 7 will see Yellow Point productions of Moving On by Barry Barker, Stop by Donna Lewis and A Pie and a Tart adapted from the French by Hugh Chesterman. June 8 features the Big Production Company’s staging of Street Smart by Solanda Sun and Yellow Point’s take on Mixed Emotions by Richard Bear. On June 9 the Unity of Nanaimo Unitics perform The Eye of the Beholder by Margaret Wilson and the festival concludes with Port Alberni’s Penny-A-Line Players doing Dear Sister by Gwynne Hunt.
Dos Santos said the festival is a venue for new playwrights, actors and directors to ply their trade. One of those directors is “avid patron” and Yellow Point theatre producer Eleanor Thompson. She’s making her directorial debut with Stop, a play that takes place in the wandering mind of a distracted meditator.
“I chose it because I’ve taken yoga all my life and tried meditating and I’m just the world’s worst meditator…” Thompson said.
“I’m thinking of my laundry list, I’m thinking of what I’m getting at the grocery store, what should I have for dinner tonight, just anything but paying attention to my breath. So that’s why I chose it, just so I could relate.”
Thompson said her experienced cast, including stage manager Barbara Metcalf, a longtime actress who recently appeared in the Western Edge Theatre production of Dead Metaphor, has helped her ease into her role as director.
“I would find myself being critical of choices that directors take and then I thought, ‘You know what? Put up or shut up. I should just try my hand at this,’ and holy learning curve, Batman,” she said.
WHAT’S ON … Yellow Point Short Play Festival takes place at Cedar Community Hall, 2388 Cedar Rd., from Thursday, June 7 to Saturday, June 9. Doors at 7 p.m., performances at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door.