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A collage of Kitsap talent to take stage in 'One Act Fest'
As if creating a collage, Dinah Manoff collected five plays, each of them different from the next.
“A potpourri,” she said.
Manoff pieced them together carefully, choosing from dozens to compile her first One Act Fest at Bainbridge Performing Arts. The show will play today, Jan. 22, and tomorrow, Jan. 23.
“I thought, ‘How can I get as many people as possible up on stage in juicy roles?’” she said. “I wanted as many of my students and as many actors as possible to have stuff they could sink their teeth into.”
Manoff’s resume is long; the Tony Award winner has performed on Broadway, television and in film. Her theater credits include Neil Simon’s “I Ought to be in Pictures.” She appeared in the movie of the same name, as well as “Grease” and the recent “Bart Got a Room.” She’s also directed for television.
Manoff now teaches acting on Bainbridge, and has created One Act Fest to gather talented performers in the area and exhibit them in diverse and entertaining roles.
After one play goes, another comes in this five-course production, featuring “Judgment Call” by Frederick Stroppel; “Check Please” by Jonathan Rand; “Little Miss Fresno” by Ara Watson and Mary Gallagher; “The Fool” (or “The Retired Captain”) by Anton Chekov, and “This Property is Condemned” by Tennessee Williams.
“I think its very stimulating,” Manoff, who is directing, said of the one-act formula. “I’m having a lot of fun playing with five different realities.”
For actors, their more intense, more condensed time on stage serves as a charge to their theatrical presence. Rather than sustaining their energy for a two-hour play, they delve into their 15 minutes onstage, reaching depths in a short timeframe, Manoff said.
She emphasized that each act is a whole play, not just a scene from a larger piece, and said the five separate works have taken on a flow as a whole.
“I feel that they do in some weird way all go together,” Manoff noted. It happened almost unconsciously, she said. “The ribbons of them really work together.”
The sets are minimal, and actors range from early teens to adulthood.
“This Property is Condemned” is a play close to Manoff’s heart. It was her first performance piece, and the first play her actress mother Lee Grant was paid to appear in.
“It happens to be one of the juiciest roles a young woman could play,” she said.
“Little Miss Fresno” is both funny and sad, taking on beauty contests for children. And as for “The Fool” — “I think every one-act fest should have a little Chekov in it,” Manoff contended.
“Judgement Call” is an ironic view of the world of baseball umpires and “Check Please” follows a series of bad blind dinner dates.
“I think an audience will get a really full taste, like a full meal,” Manoff said. “I think it’s really going to be an entertaining, interesting, fun night for the audience.”
The shows run at 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at www.bainbridgeperformingarts.org, (206) 842-8569 or at BPA, 200 Madison Avenue North.
Each play is between 10 and 20 minutes long, most are comedies, and they are for mature audiences (teen and above).