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Six in the City: Lee Street Theatre presents winners of first 10-minute play contest

By Sarah Hall
shall@salisburypost.com
Lee Street Theatre presents the winning entries in their first annual 10-minute play contest next week at the Looking Glass Artist Collective’s Black Box Theater, 405 N. Lee St. in Salisbury.
Performances will be June 3-6 at 7:30 p.m.
Writers who live in North Carolina and neighboring states were invited by LST to submit 10-minute plays, set in a city. The winning six plays were chosen anonymously by Catawba College professors Missy Barnes, the production’s director, and Bethany Sinnott.
All six plays feature local actors in familiar settings: restaurants, automobiles, office buildings.
Enjoying world premieres are the following:
– “The Caller on Line One” by Stephen Gallagher of Youngsville, N.C., featuring actors Dean Proctor, Sacha Roberts and Cindi Graham;
– “Almost Made in Heaven” by Elisabeth Burdick of Durham, featuring actors Laurel Reisen and Travis Stewart;
– “The Stairs” by Jennifer Hubbard of Charlotte, featuring actors Robert Jones and Kelly Flick;
– “In Your Hands” by Carol Butler of Lake Wylie, S.C., featuring actors Dick Huffman and Sarah Drinkard;
– “Speed Bumps” by Brett Hursey of Farmville, Va., featuring actors Bob Paolino and Sharon Doherty;
– “But I’m French” by Terry Roueche of Rock Hill, S.C., featuring actors Paolino and Ketti Overcash.
This will be the first Lee Street production directed by Barnes. She is an associate professor of theatre arts at Catawba College where she has served as director of the musical theatre and dance programs for the past seven years.
In her time at Catawba, Barnes has directed and choreographed a variety of productions, including “Urinetown: The Musical” and “Sweeney Todd.” Before arriving in Salisbury, she worked as an actor, director, choreographer, dancer, and stage manager in New Orleans, Boston, and Chicago.
Barnes says that all the actors involved in the production work and have such busy lives, she decided the best approach was to leave the initial preparation and staging up to the actors themselves, letting them rehearse at their own convenience. She isn’t “micro-managing or telling them every move to make,” she says.
Barnes did say she would be happy to meet with any of them who wanted her input early on and contacted her, but otherwise it was their responsibility to get together and learn lines.
When the actors rehearsed in the theater for the first time with Barnes this week, she said they were expected to be “off book.”
“That’s so we can have fun,” she says.
And Robert Jones and Kelly Flick did appear to be having a good time at Monday’s rehearsal, portraying two rather odd people in an elevator. While they were on the stage, Dean Proctor and Sacha Roberts were in the next room discussing their roles as they waited to take the stage next, performing for Barnes’ comments for the first time.
Barnes points out the wide variety of experience levels among the actors, some of whom are new to the stage, while others have extensive experience. Flick is a former student of Barnes’, so that has been a reunion for them. Sarah Drinkard is also a former Catawba theatre student, although her time there predated Barnes’ arrival.
An aspect of the production that Barnes finds especially interesting is that Bob Paolino and Sharon Doherty, who portray a couple in one of the plays, are also a couple in real life.
“When the script calls for them to have a fight about something ridiculous, it’s totally believable,” says Barnes.
Lee Street Theatre plans to hold its second annual 10-minute play festival in June 2010 with a different theme.
Admission to the performances next week is $10. There are no advance sales; seating is first-come, first-served. Doors open at 7 p.m.
For more information, contact leestreettheatre@gmail.com.

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