Bonfire-Four plays by Penguin Productions Playwrights

Coupla Teenagers Sittin’ around writing plays

Penguin Productions

An intergenerational small theatre arts program located in the University Heights Center showcased three plays written by teenagers at the Seattle Outdoor Theatre Festival, Sunday, July 9th. The plays were impressive because they were highly original, with great amusing dialogue but were not without serious reflections on life and art.

Shakespeare in the Park by Hersh Powers

Directed by Tera Winter, is a delightful send up of vain actors, Shakespeare, prima donnas and stage fright, as two actors discuss sit place backstage before a performance of a “revival” the Merry Wives of Windsor. The actors Erin Griff Emmett Driscoll and Beezus Murphy handled the irreverent dialogue to a tee. It was short and sweet and right on the money and I started laughing on the first line.

Elliot SwannPark Bench by Greg Chvany

Park Bench was a refreshingly original treatment of loneliness and toxic friendships. The only set piece is a park bench in an unnamed park (so the park bench in Volunteer Park worked well) Asier Sadaba was on stage narrating the trials and tribulations of being the park bench. The main thrust of his unhappiness is that he is lonely as most people he encounters are transitory, only making contact with the park bench to tie their shoes or diaper their babies.

So he entraps two people as his “friends” and treats his “humans” the way many people treat their pets. It was totally delightful, but had a serious message. Elliott Swann as the “Park Bench” did a great job as the narrator, since it was practically a one person play, as did the supporting players Asier Sdaba, Miranda Gilbert and Kate Petersen.

It’s not over yet by Jack Drake

Again, the same originality was present in It’s not over yet. Two college age friends visit the family home of . the purpose of the trip is to introduce the gay boyfriend to the family. As soon as Jack walks back into his family’s home, he is plagued by “Echoes of memories” of the negative “script” he has internalized from his parents etc. But the voices he hears, i.e. his subconscious, was actually acted out by a person on stage.

He struggles with his backstory as he tries to live in the present and move forward. Like all great humor it is not only funny but also profoundly serious and speaks to one of the greatest difficulties of human beings; how to break the nasty expectations of ourselves that have been instilled inside of us by our upbringings.


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