Josee Duffhues, Brenda Clarke and Vic Duffhues (from left) rehearse a scene from Alice and Charlie Forget About Sally and Eddie, a play they will perform at the Yellow Point Drama Group Short Play Festival. (Photo courtesy Barbra French)

Yellow Point Drama Group Short Play Festival returns for third year

Two-day festival includes local originals and published plays

A pair of original local plays will be the bookends at this year’s Yellow Point Drama Group Short Play Festival.

Each year the event welcomes area theatre groups or individuals to stage original or published material of any genre up to an hour in length. This year’s edition features seven plays and takes place at Cedar Community Hall on June 6 and 7.

The festival opens with Family Matters by Nanaimo playwrights Mark Smith and Anne Drozd. The play is about a pair of siblings who discover through genetic testing that they have a long lost sister. The play debuted at VIU’s Satyr Players One-Act Festival in March and will feature some returning actors.

The play was inspired by true events, as Smith’s sister decided to undergo genetic testing and found there was someone out there with a close DNA match.

“She did some investigation and discovered that indeed we have a sister,” he said. “So that part of the story is from our lives.”

The next five plays in the festival are all courtesy Cowichan Valley’s Vita Theatre and directed by Vita’s Barbra French. They were previously shown at the Spring Shorts festival at the Ladysmith Little Theatre in March. The first four plays are by American playwrights, but the fifth one is by Victoria resident Rachel Wyatt.

These plays include Alice and Charlie Forget About Sally and Eddie, which explores the theme of memories and how they are changed or feared; Helen, a monologue about a middle-aged woman whose life is changed by a chance encounter; Waiting for Seven, about two women on a park bench discussing crazy marital experiences; Storm on Storm, about a man who is struck by lightning twice and how if affects his personal life; and Confinement, about an older woman using a wheelchair after suffering a stroke who is coming to terms with her past and her relationships with her daughter.

French said her casts will benefit from remounting the plays after a good experience at Spring Shorts.

“When you direct a play you always want another $10,000 and another week and I feel that sort of gives you that – not the money, obviously – but it gives you that extra week,” she said.

The festival concludes with Noir-ish by Nanaimo playwright William Anderson. He wrote the play in 2017 for the Nanaimo Fringe Festival and has been tweaking it ever since.

He said the play takes on the idea that “Sometimes the past comes back to bite you in the butt,” as his main character finds himself facing the consequences of past actions.

“Originally, it didn’t start that way,” Anderson added. “Originally, I started with the idea of a bumbling detective story. But as I was working on the first scene of the play it just kind of morphed into something else entirely, so I just went with it.”

WHAT’S ON … Third annual Yellow Point Drama Group Short Play Festival comes to Cedar Community Hall, 2388 Cedar Rd., on Thursday and Friday, June 6 and 7. Doors at 7 p.m., Shows start at 7:30. Tickets $15 at the door, to reserve call 250-722-2459.

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