In the midst of COVID-19, the Pumphouse Players are partnering with The In-House Writers to present a digital viewing of “Confessions.” Spanning an hour, the Zoom event on Friday and Saturday will feature five short plays penned by different writers.
“‘Confessions’ is a series of themed short plays that have been recorded by local actors for the enjoyment of our online audiences,” said PHP President Laurel Ann Lowe, who is a member of The In-House Writers. “Each play is around 6-10 minutes long and was loosely inspired by a writing prompt that included a confession of some kind. All of the plays are the playwrights' first in writing for a digital format, an interesting challenge in and of itself.
“With the closure of live performance venues, Pumphouse Players has been struggling to find new ways to still [forward] our mission of providing performance art opportunities — now more vital than ever — and ‘Confessions’ is the first step in that direction. Offering digital theater is complicated at best, and we've yet to find a perfect solution, but we're determined to keep striving toward our mission and supporting local artists however we can.”
During “Confessions,” online viewers will be treated to a handful of plays, one of which was written by Lowe.
“My play, ‘Time Served,’ is loosely inspired by a real event that stuck out in my mind for several years: a woman was arrested for ‘assault’ with a very interesting and unlikely weapon,” she said, adding her play will be performed by Ann-Marie Thomas. “I never heard the outcome of the real life arrest, or the circumstances that led up to it, but I enjoyed imagining a scenario around it.
“Most people might not know how challenging it is to write a short play. All the normal elements of a story have to be present, and the writer is extremely limited on time, number of characters and, in this case, the computer screen. We hope that, above all, our audience enjoys a little peek into the small worlds we've created with these miniature shows.”
Along with “Time Served,” Lowe shared the other short plays include Caitlyn Keller’s "The Apple,” which will be performed by Jessie Kuipers and Sarah Humphrey; Karen Ruetz’s "It's Just Coffee" with performances by Keller and Charlie Monroe; Ashley Elliott’s "All This To Say" with James Elliott and Trinity Haynes; and Ian Gibson’s "Drinking Confessions" with Parris Sarter and Markell Williams.
“‘Confessions’ was one of our group’s weekly writing prompts. I found a confession online that I felt would be fun to play with, and it turned into a romantic comedy,” said Ruetz, adding her play “features Carl and Ally, a divorced couple who just happen to meet in a coffee shop two years after their divorce.
“I find short play collections to be a lot of fun seeing different playwrights’ points of view and styles. I think the audience will enjoy hearing all of these different confessions and will be sure to have fun doing online theater since we can’t do the real thing.”
Opening Friday at 7 p.m., “Confessions” will continue Saturday at 3 and 7 p.m.
“The In-House Writers started as a very informal group of friends just starting to explore playwriting and critique, and we've developed our skills together through partnership over the last couple of years,” Lowe said. “While we've been at home or dealing with the general oddness of the pandemic, we've found having our writing group to look forward to each week has given us focus and purpose.
“As a writer, having a group of like-minded peers that you trust to give an honest critique of your work is invaluable. There's a lot of trust involved when you're showing someone something you've created and feel very strongly about. Whether we're all writing from a prompt or bringing in our individual projects, we have a great time sharing our work and building each other up.”
For more information about the PHP or to obtain tickets for "Confessions," visit http://pumphouseplayers.com. Instead of a fixed ticket price, patrons will be able to select a donation amount of their choosing.