For its second year, “Power Lines: A New Play Festival With Hard Hats” are hitting the stages again featuring four new plays 100 percent written, directed and designed by Sonoma State University students.
The new Ives Hall tradition returns April 4-13, as festival director Scott Horstein gives students the opportunity to experience all that goes into high level production shows. This year he adds an engaging and fun feature for audiences and students alike with an exhibit room to be seen prior to the show.
“The audience will pass through an exhibit room before the show where they can see models and renderings of what the design would look like if it was fully realized,” said Horstein. “The audience gets to imagine the full world of the play and dream along with the designers and playwright and artists about the world of play.”
The festival kicks off with Kat Anderson’s play, “Lotus Flower” where audiences explore the question – “How do you put your mind back together when it splits apart? Find out while shadowy figures watch behind the glass.”
“Cheers” a production written by Joelle Joyner-Wong featuring four friends who “journey deep into the heart of their dorm room. Beware the evil R.A.”
Joyner-Wong switched to Theater Arts during her sophomore year at Sonoma State.
“I feel this experience is helping me get a sense on what a playwright is,” said Joyner-Wong, whose play went from being 13 pages to 40 before rehearsal.
“The playwrights have their script go through a full development and workshop process, much like a professional writer would do, before the scripts ever go into rehearsal,” says Horstein.
Writer Kyle Kiefer’s play, “Eat Your Heart Out” takes place in an ethereal setting where a tortured soul peers through a doorway of possibility.
“I had actually come up with the basis for my play while taking a class in Creative Writing at my community college before I transferred to Sonoma State,” Kiefer’s short story through production has since evolved but is still based around the original storyline.
Both Kiefer and Joyner-Wong express the necessity of these experiences being at the forefront of future successes in pursuing high level theatrical and production work after school.
This year’s playwrights have had to know when to step back and allow designers, directors and other artists recreate and integrate their own methodologies to each play.
The festival ends on a comedic note with Christa Rico’s play, “Order’s Up” where “two potential lovers uncover the truth behind really, really bad pickup lines.”
Rico incorporates her own experiences in how we develop connections in our lives. The show will feature a couple, a cook who embodies those closest to us, and a narrator who symbolizes the individuals in the background of our lives such as strangers and coworkers.
“People constantly come in and out of our lives, but it’s the ones who stay who really impact our choices and where we end up,” said Rico. “The bad pickup lines were thrown in when a good friend of mine and I were bouncing off ideas on how to end my scenes, I’m actually the least comedic in my family, so writing this play was a struggle but an adventure to stretch my writing abilities.”
Come one come all, and witness a new era of student theater. Student run on all angles make for a truly authentic experience embodying new artists at Sonoma State.
“Each designer does the full production design for their short play – sets, costumes, and props – they get to design the whole world,” says Horstein.
Tickets are $6 for the public or free for Sonoma State students with ID.