Festival of Shorts: Intriguing | Art & Appetite

By James Spangler | Jun 16, 2017

The doctrine of unintended consequences is a funny thing.

Sixteen years ago, when local psychologist Diane Jamieson responded to a request for volunteers for her daughter’s play at Madrona Children's Theatre, she could not have anticipated that it would lead to many years of involvement in local and community theater.

Most recently, for example, as executive producer of Driftwood's TIP series (Theatre of Intriguing Possibilities) and producer of Driftwood Players increasingly popular annual Festival of Shorts, now in its eighth year.

You just never know what can happen when you raise your hand.

She could not have known that way back in December, Driftwood’s call for submissions of short plays would result in 419 responses from across the globe. The call requested that playwrights limit themselves to 10 to 15 minutes, that they keep it relatively clean, and that content in some way be tied to the yearly theme.

This year’s theme? I'm glad you asked. It’s “Unintended Consequences.”

Blind readings were conducted to insure fairness, and a second group of readers were employed to make the final selection from 20 down to just eight short plays. If past year's performances are any indication, they will be sometimes innovative, often hilarious, and occasionally quite profound.

Jamieson, who finds involvement in theater provides her with a good balance to her professional endeavours, has been active since the festival’s inception when she stage managed the first productions.

“They're eight very different interpretations of the same theme – it’s entirely up to the playwright’s imagination as to where they’ll take us,” she said. “I'm hopeful that this year, their plays will challenge us to consider our own unintended consequences.”

It's a program unlike anything else that has come out of Driftwood: Eight directors, six designers, 24 actors, two stage managers with three respected theater critics who will choose an overall winner.

One of the more poignant moments in the past was the performance of “The Red Dress” – a play portraying a young woman asked to don a suicide vest. It was eventually produced as a full feature film.

Another production, “2 Shirts,” had audiences in stitches as two shirts hanging on a clothesline conspire to break free. Jon Woods, starring in Driftwood's current production “The Game’s Afoot,” made his acting debut for Driftwood as one of those shirts.

Another interesting aside – one of the eight finalists is local actor and playwright Eric Bischoff with his entry “Good Ol’ Mom and Dad.”

At the Festival of Shorts, the audience has an important role to perform as well. Each of the audiences of the four performances this year will select their favorite. I hope to be there casting my vote, possibly canceling out yours.

Not on purpose – if that happens, it’ll be an unintended consequence.

Festival of Shorts

Where: Wade James Theater, 950 Main St., Edmonds
When: 8 p.m. July 7-8; 2 p.m. July 8-9
Tickets: $18-$20
Information: 425-774-9600, www.edmondsdriftwoodplayers.org

 

 

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