Silver Spring Stage’s annual One-Act Festival starts Thursday with four short comedies and comedy-dramas.
The festival, which runs three straight weekends, is a time-honored tradition at the Silver Spring theater group, running since at least the 1970s, said board member Lennie Magida. While the festival has its usual something-for-everyone variety, the overall tone this year is somewhat lighter than it has been in recent years, she said.
“We’re excited that all the plays for the 2014 festival are original works that haven’t been previously published,” Magida said. “Also, each of the three weekends this year has one play by a local playwright.”
Running from Thursday through Sunday for the opening weekend are comedies “Why Do We Fall?” and “Drop It,” along with comedy-dramas “Monkey Play” and “Father’s Weekend.”
• “Why Do We Fall,” written by John Krizel, details a young woman’s blind date that turns out to be Bruce Wayne, leading to some interesting situations.
• “Monkey Play,” written by Rand Higbee, is about a chimpanzee named Homer who has been raised much like a human until budget cuts cause changes.
• “Father’s Weekend” by John Byrne looks at a man who encounters a talking statue of his father while visiting his son at college.
• “Drop It” by Mike Rubino is about friends offering to help a guy who hangs out in a coffee shop with his romantic life.
For Aug. 14-17:
• The comedy “20 Questions” by Rob Gorman covers a man discovering that passage to the afterlife is a matter of asking the right questions.
• “Matched” by Kat Meads is a drama about crossing paths with the dead after the 1948 fire in a North Carolina mental hospital that killed Zelda Fitzgerald and eight others.
• The drama “Between Brother and Sister” by Briandaniel Oglesby details siblings’ recollection of difficult family moments and the brother they used to have.
• “The Resurrectionists” by Ben Jolivet is a comedy about the plight of two slackers who scheme to break into a crypt.
For the final weekend of Aug. 21-24, Magida is directing a comedy she wrote called “Today’s Special.” The play details a young woman, seeking refuge from a storm, who runs into a deli and encounters a family dispute.
It’s the first play that Magida — a Potomac resident who also is a writer, editor and consultant for nonprofits, as well as a tutor — has written. She started writing the play during a class at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda last fall and finished it earlier this year.
“I always liked writing dialogue,” Magida said. “It’s a lot of fun to direct a play you wrote. We have a great cast who really brings the words to life.”
Also during the final weekend:
• “Rewrite” by Tom Moran, a comedy, is about a writer of Westerns who deals with some of his characters.
• The comedy “Beatrix Potter Must Die!” by Patrick Gabridge concerns Farmer McGregor going back in time to change the course of children’s literature.
• “Ethel,” a comedy-drama by Seth Freeman, details a busy night at a Baltimore-area motel for proprietor Ethel.
Casts of the first weekend’s plays have been rehearsing since mid-June, while the later weekend’s ones started a couple weeks later. Many of the cast and production members live in Montgomery County, with some coming from Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia and other parts of Maryland.
Silver Spring Stage is in the Woodmoor Shopping Center on Colesville Road.