Santa Rosa theater company examines past year’s isolation in short play festival
Last year, when Santa Rosa’s Left Edge Theatre hosted its first short play festival, “Hindsight 2021,” the theme was the turmoil prompted by the first year of the pandemic.
And, of course, the festival had to presented online because of COVID-19.
This year’s sequel, “Hindsight 2022,” will be presented in person to live audiences but will be available online, too.
The theme has changed a bit. Last year was all about the impact of the pandemic, but this year is more about how we coped with it. The central question is “What is true connection?”
“We asked playwrights to submit plays about what it means to be connected during the pandemic,” said festival director Paige Picard.
From more than 240 submissions from playwrights across five continents, 10 plays were selected. Three of the authors participated in last year’s event. This year’s festival features nine different directors and a dozen actors.
“We were looking for plays that dealt with connection in imaginative ways, and we got so many interesting connections,” Picard said.
The plays are divided among two acts: the first of dystopian and even science fictional stories and the second dealing with human relationships, said Picard, who has been living in and working from San Diego during the pandemic.
In the first act, “Love, from Space,” by Maxwell Plata of Tempe, Arizona, is set on a post-apocalyptic Earth. “The Multiverse,” by Wendy Gough Soroka of Los Angeles, examines the effects of inhabiting an entirely different universe than those closest to us.
In “Performance Anxiety” by David Lipschutz of Chicago, a man goes into a Zoom work call only to find that this time, Zoom has its own ideas.
Palo Alto playwright Emily Russell’s “And for your last breath?” short play concerns two 20-somethings in Berkeley who wake up on Sept. 9, 2020, with wildfires outside pushing them to evacuate and COVID-19 forcing them to stay in.
In the second act, the plays include “Namaste” by New Zealand playwright Lindsey Brown, which deals with women in a yoga class, and “Slow Dating” by Adam Szudrich of Australia, about an elderly woman who tries speed dating.
In “The God Part” by Dana Leslie Goldstein of Brooklyn, two characters who have lost their spouses contemplate a second try for trust and intimacy. “Deep Breath” by Greg Vovos of Cleveland ponders human communication with both intimates and strangers.
In “Guten Tag, Baby!” by Scott C. Sickles of Forest Hills, New York, a family visits the place where their grandmother met the love of her life.
Those nine plays will be presented live but also will be available online. In “Zoom” by Joe Nelms of New York City, the festival’s tenth play and the only one to be presented online only instead of live, longtime actor David Yen delivers a short monologue, directed by Argo Thompson, artistic director of the Left Edge theater company.
“We wanted to include this because it reflects back on last year’s festival,” Picard said.
You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at email@example.com or 707-521-5243. On Twitter @danarts.
Arts & Entertainment, The Press Democrat
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