For 94 seasons, the Bakersfield Community Theater has amused, moved and entertained local audiences.
One of the features of the community theater offerings has been the annual One-Act Festival, which returns Friday to the South Chester Avenue site.
The show features the original works of local writers or those with local ties.
Deva Wiloth, who is organizing this year’s festival, said she was very impressed with the submissions from local writers.
She wrote in an email, “…I picked the ones that I thought were the best written and easiest to direct. I’m really happy with the one-acts that got picked this year.”
This production features six one-act acts, a “good mix of comedy and seriousness”, Wiloth said. Unlike previous years, there is no common thread but rather a collection that is linked well.
In addition to organizing and producing the festival, Wiloth also directs the one-act film “Point of No Return”, written by Carla Stanley.
It centers on a family custody battle that pits Margaret (Beth Clark) and Michael (Xian Fredericksen) against each other as their child, Freddie (Stevie McNabb), discovers who they are and seeks to be accepted by their parents.
Wiloth said she wanted to direct the one-act from the moment she read it.
“I love directing shows that push boundaries, that leave audiences questioning themselves and strongly feeling some type of emotion, whatever that emotion is,” she wrote. “This act pushed boundaries and touches on topics that are definitely a controversial topic these days.”
“I want people to leave the theater talking about things, getting new information about things and topics they may have had no idea before.”
“Hugo’s Rock” (written by Mark Fischer, directed by Juan Quinonez): Two women (Jan Hefner and Julie Gaines) revisit one of their old childhood favorites, which reawakens old memories.
“It’s not over until the pink lady sings” (written by Allison Fradkin, directed by Stevie McNabb): Starring Alyssa Rocha, Faith Thompson and Shelby Antongiovanni, the one-act is an LGBTQ coming-of-age story about two best friends, a new crush and a potential love triangle .
“Al Pals” (written by Allison Fradkin, directed by Faith Thompson): Girlfriends Jeanette (Shelby Antongiovanni) and Phyllis (Stevie McNabb) eagerly await the results of MTV’s “Video Thrilled the Parody Star” contest, hosted by “the most 1980s hunky-dori”, “Weird Al” Yankovic (Josh Carruthers).
“For the Living” (written by Barbara Gagnon, directed by Lindsay Pearson): An undertaker (Faith Thompson) finds a nice visitor (Jan Hefner), but all is not as it seems.
“Dday +1” (written by Thomas Coash, directed by Josh Carruthers): Carl (Tim Fromm) follows enthusiastic American friend Don (Xian Fredericksen) as they gear up for “a shopping date with fate”.
Coming back to an in-person festival after online broadcasts in recent years is a relief, Wiloth said.
“We wanted to be able to take people’s attention away from what’s going on in the world for a little while and just enjoy an evening of live theater,” she wrote.
Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter: @realstefanidias.
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