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sheherezade

poster design by Paul Springer

This post may be partly about coffee. It’s at least about too much coffee, or needing more coffee or needing more sleep, but I’m taking an ill-advised break from a literal frenzy of packing and cleaning and staging and storing and house-hunting and prepping my house for sale to write this post. I’ve been perusing the Wily West Productions website about the upcoming “Sheherezade 14″ ten-minute play showcase featuring 8 fully produced original plays written by top local San Francisco playwrights. The descriptions of two of the first three plays are also partly about coffee, and since that’s all I can think about right now, I’m hooked.

Seriously, this does sounds fun and if I can burrow my way out, I will try to attend. The “Sheherezade 14″ plays will be at performed at the Exit Theatre in San Francisco on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, June 7 – June 28.  The works deal with disparate topics from trying to get a job to solving a decades-old murder, from new to old romance, from paint on canvas to the space-time continuum, but these plays embody a common theme of how we navigate reality when it can’t be relied upon or won’t hold up to the preconceived.

As much as  I love traditional full length plays, I have grown to greatly enjoy shorter theater pieces as well.    Wily West Executive Producer Laylah Muran de Assereto reminds us that “it takes a lot of work and craft to effectively distill entire relationships, emotional arcs, sense of place and time, and entire plot lines into less than 10 pages. It takes a different, but no less important, skill-set for actors and directors to realize those elements and have it be just as satisfying as, and sometimes more haunting, more emotionally impacting than a longer work.”

Here are brief descriptions of the eight plays from Wily West’s website:

Almost Like Being Alive
by Steve Koppman, directed by Wesley Cayabyab
“How’s your Wednesday going?” young Starbucks workers are virtually required to ask, though their training hardly prepares them for all the responses that come their way.

The Duck
by Vonn Scott Bair, directed by Wesley Cayabyab
Hope refuses to cooperate with a missing person investigation, but learns that it’s actually an unsolved murder with a big surprise.

Brew, Drink, Repeat
by Bridgette Dutta Portman, directed by Wesley Cayabyab
Joe enters Mobius Coffee one morning…and cannot leave. Will he find a way to escape with the help of the ditzy barista, or be stuck in a time loop forever?

Dissonance
by Terry Anderson, directed by Amy Crumpacker
It’s Sunday in the park, a nice day for a stroll. The only problem is the body lying next to the path.

Dissonance Cast: Jason Jeremy, Leontyne Mbele-Mbong, Philip Goleman, Catherine Luedtke, Rick Homan, Cameron Galloway photo by Jim Norrena

Sheherezade 14 Ensemble Cast: Jason Jeremy, Leontyne Mbele-Mbong, Philip Goleman, Catherine Luedtke, Rick Homan, Cameron Galloway
photo by Jim Norrena

The Box
by Madeleine Butler, directed by Wesley Cayabyab
Justin helps his zany friend Gina sneak into a museum after hours. Can they find the box she hid there as a child?

Reframing Rockwell
by Jim Norrena, directed by Amy Crumpacker
Norman Rockwell is one of the most celebrated American painters of the 20th century, who for nearly 50 years depicted in his work the seemingly perfect family. Yet what was going on in his own family was anything but perfect.

The Interview
by Madeline Puccioni, directed by Amy Crumpacker
Margaret has all the skills to be a great bartender…except she’s an obnoxious grammar gorilla with wheezing asthma. Can she convince Darren to hire her, even though she flunked him out of her 1A class?

Photo Dynamic Therapy
by Jennifer Lynne Roberts, directed by Amy Crumpacker
Gwyn likes Sionil. Sionil likes Gwyn. But can they overcome their grief, fears, and expensive anti-aging cream to forge a relationship?

“Sheherezade 14″ is an annual short play showcase now in its fourteenth year and is presented by Wily West Productions in conjunction with The Playwright’s Center of San Francisco.  Tickets are on sale at  brownpapertickets.

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