Theater jackpot

It’s practically a tradition already. Come July, the folks at Live Arts will roll out their third annual Summer Theater Festival (STF). Based in part on the famous Fringe Festival that takes place in Scotland each August, Live Arts’ summer production is a fast-paced flurry of dramatic activity. Fringe offers hundreds of productions; Live Arts has opted for a more manageable number: 10. But staging a multiple slate of plays, featuring a variety of directors, and working with a number of separate casts limning a host of characters, all squeezed into a three-week run, is a formidable chore.
Of course the planning for such a Herculean task takes months. Meetings for interested directors and production crews began in the spring. The result is a schedule that includes a dozen separate plays and almost 70 individual performances.
“The festival is an opportunity to enjoy a lot of variety,” says STF producer Rowena Halpin.
On the main stage Ronda Hewitt and Emma Givens direct a double-bill of Christopher Durang favorites,Sister Mary Explains It All For You and The Actor’s Nightmare. Veteran STF director Glenn Harris offers The Book of Liz by humorists Amy and David Sedaris, and newcomer Candace Burton brings the aptly named Erotica Project. Known for his “No Shame” fame, Todd Ristau trades venues and brings on The Biology Lesson and Other Experiments. Rounding out the main stage shows is the return of last year’s popular Improvaganza.
In the LA.B. Space, Bill Niebel directs the surreal Ionesco pieces The Bald Soprano and The Lesson. Mark Valahovic gives us Authur Kopit’s Y2K; Stephen Getman does The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare; Sebastian Greiman produces his take on a Shakespeare play, Kiss Me, Nate; and Tim VanDyck provides direction for Private Eyes, a piece billed as a “Private Lives meets Get Shorty.”
On any given evening during the Festival, you can arrive early, stay late, and see as many as three shows if you time it right. Friday evenings will also feature the continued late-night shenanigans of “No Shame Theater” for those who just can’t get enough.

Call now for a festival pass which costs $50 and includes free entry to “No Shame.” Single tickets, which range from $5-9, are available only in person at the box office. Live Arts, 609 E. Market St. 977-4177, x308