Ashley Mercia as Janie and Dan Vasquez as Paul Doyle rehears the one-act play Little Death in the Nickle Studio at the Memorial Centre this week.

Take one: Lots of variety in Central Alberta Theatre’s One Act Play Festival

Love, death and zoo stories are part of this year’s One Act Play Festival for Central Alberta Theatre.

Love, death and zoo stories are part of this year’s One Act Play Festival for Central Alberta Theatre.

“It’s going to be really interesting. People will be taken on quite a ride,” predicted Cynthia Edwards, a producer of the festival that runs from Thursday to Saturday, June 19 to 21, at the Nickle Studio, upstairs at the Memorial Centre.

The first part of the evening will be made up of four published short plays that run the gamut from serious to zany — sometimes all in the same production.

“All the scripts are really strong — and so are the performances,” added Edwards, who’s co-producing the plays with Pam Miller.

Please Have a Seat and Someone Will Be With You Shortly is a short one-act by Garth Wingfield about two people waiting for appointments with two different psychiatrists. David and Sue usually sit in the waiting room, reading magazines. But on this day, they decide to strike up a conversation — with unexpected results.

The two characters will be portrayed by CAT veteran Tara Rorke and relative newcomer Mike Mohr, who played the lead in the recent production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Edwards joked that Mohr risks being forever typecast after playing yet another character within the mental health system in this funny-serious 10-minute play, directed by Sarah Gibson.

The Little Death and Asphalt Green are two one-acts being helmed by CAT acting veteran Craig Scott, who’s taking his first foray into directing.

The Little Death, by Peter M. Floyd, is about a couple who are anticipating their first night together when the guy gets some alarming news about his mortality.

“He confronts Love and Death at the same time,” said Edwards of this short four-character play.

Asphalt Green, by Rogelio Martinez, is about a priest who takes a stand against a new apartment project to protect the parking lot that serves as a baseball field for the neighbourhood.

The drama with comic touches has Father Joseph butting heads with the project’s contractor, said Edwards, who noted CAT actor and Red Deer College alumni Jason Steele co-stars.

The fourth play in the first half of the evening is The Babel of Circular Labyrinths, about art, time and the relationship between fantasy and reality, by Dan Nigro.

A blind man sits under a light in a library and asks a woman who enters certain riddles, such as: why is a raven like a writing desk, what is the nature of labryrinths, and why doesn’t a blind man choose to sit in the dark?

The woman visitor bears a knife. The two-character play is directed by Erik Anderson.

After intermission, three Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School students will present Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story.

The hour-long one-act play is about two characters, Peter and Jerry, who meet on a bench in New York City’s Central Park. Peter is a middle-class professional with a wife, two daughters, two cats and two parakeets. Jerry is an isolated and disheartened man, desperate to have a meaningful conversation.

He intrudes on Peter’s space and forces him to listen to a story about the reason behind his zoo visit.

The action unfolds in real time, includes ironic humor, dramatic suspense and an unsettling climax. It’s directed by student Elena Stalwick.

Although there are no locally written plays in this year’s festival, Edwards said the chosen mix is sure to provide an emotional thrill ride, culminating in a thought-provoking evening of theatre.

Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. shows are $20 from the Black Knight Ticket Centre, or at the door.

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