Short, sharp, fresh

Even in San Antonio, where last night’s brilliant star of the stage is tomorrow’s familiar-faced waiter and some of our best-known directors are also most-adored professors, the path to the footlights can be elusive.

Enter the Renaissance Guild’s Act One Series, developed to provide a venue and a voice to independent writers. Each year, the program, now in its seventh season, produces 10-15-minute one-act scripts by several writers working in a range of genres.

“We wanted something original so local playwrights could see their work come to life with a looser atmosphere,” says Renaissance co-founder Paul Riddle Jr. “We wanted something the community could enjoy, especially those who don’t like to sit through an entire play.”

This year’s theme, “New Beginnings,” celebrates real-life issues with a hint of drama, irony, and comedy as related through the mundane stuff of relationships, jobs, and families.

Keisha Poiro’s Cleaver brings together the family values of Leave It To Beaver and the campy horror of Nightmare On Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger. In Contribution For a Good Cause, written by P. G. Marlar, a musician solicits donations for her band from a grumpy neighbor.

In Torence White’s comedic short I Never, a single man discusses his virginity with three attentive females, poking fun at the trials and tribulations of a man entering adulthood. “I’m looking forward to seeing my work performed onstage and seeing the audience’s reaction,” White says.

On a more serious note, writer Rachelle Neuman has tackled no-nonsense issues, including the Sudan crisis, in Darfur Calls. With her new short In the Beginning, Neuman imagines the perceptions of a newborn boy and girl.

Jenelva Carter, who has assisted, managed, directed, and acted in numerous productions, including Oklahoma, Pygmalion, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, shows her keen eye for directing actors in The Big Sign, the story of a daughter who visits her mom in jail to ask her to sign divorce papers so her dad can remarry.

Other shorts include The Wounded Heart of a Man, written by Kim Bryant Smith, about a bitter divorced man who evaluates his feelings for a woman, and The Visit, written by Chantel Linay, about a man who visits an ailing friend in a nursing home for the last time.

The event features home-grown writers, actors, and fans, and its variety is a testament to the versatility of the local theater community. With a down-to-earth atmosphere and musical interludes connecting the plays, the Guild promises a night of excitement, comedy, and fun followed by a Q&A session with the writers.



Act One Series
8pm Fri & Sat,
May 30 & 31
Jump-Start Theatre
108 Blue Star
(210) 656-0349


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