Madeleine Butler,

a local Oakland playwright and jazz singer, has a short play entitled “The Box” being staged by Wiley West Productions and The Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco at Exit Theatre for one more weekend!

The short play, one of a series of shorts that has been compiled into the short play festival that is “Sheherezode 14,” had only the requirements that they leave the audience thinking and be less than ten pages in length, in common. The thread that tied them together seemed to go much deeper than that, however.

Madeleine’s play “The Box” was what got her into The Playground’s writing pool in Berkeley. The story, involving a museum security guard that practices a sort of vocalizing he dubs “scrapping” (a clever combination of rap and be-bop), catches a young man and woman in the basement of the museum after-hours, looking for a box that the woman left in the wall as a child. Humurous, endearing and clever, the short play has you invested in the characters and intrigued by their choices in a matter of minutes. The storyline then leads you to linger a moment on your own initial assessments, judgements, or tendencies to stereotype and ponder alternate vantange points to everyday scenarios. Finally, it shines a light on how humble, playful, compassionate and connection-driven people can be.

Madeleine’s play was among many similarly engrossing short plays by talented playwrights. Steve Koppman’s short play, “Almost Like Being Alive,” was a glimpse into the everyday life of a barista, asking each customer how their day is going and receiving a variety of non-responses, until finally, one man is honest with her. “The Interview” by Madeline Puccioni, pokes fun at the state of employment in the field of education, as well as places unlikely characters, each with at least one tiresome quirk for the others to contend with, in a triangulation where they must depend on each other. “Photodynamic Therapy” was a play by Jennifer Lynne Roberts, staged at the intersection of grief, love and companionship. An intimate portrayal of a couple, having akward conversations about recent deaths that lingered in their consciousness, all under while drinking and trying to alternately seduce and refrain from seducing each other. “Reframing Rockwell” is Jim Norrena’s play about the famous painter and his wife, exposing the secret dynamic of their un-Rockwellian existence. “Dissonace” focused on the various interpretations of a man, lying there on the ground, in the middle of a park on a Sunday. “The Duck” by Vonn Scott Bair dives into the outrageous secret behind an FBI murder case and a woman, living alone in a house surrounded by images of Ducks, pestered for years by agents looking to collect her DNA to see if she is the missing child from whatever case they are working on. A sort of Ground Hog Day spin-off that makes clever use of Mobius Cafe, to stage a time loop with seemingly no escape.

“Sheherezad” was directed by Wesley Cayabyab & Emily Crumpacker and produced by Lalyah Murrain de Assereto and Jennifer Lynne Roberts. he Actor’s Ensemble included Cameron Galloway, Philip Goleman, Rick Homan, Jason Jeremy, Cat Luedtke, Leontyne Mbele-Mbong and Gareth Tidall. These seven actors were they actors for the entire night. They changed character at least three times throughout the night and nailed it every time!

sheherezade

Exit Theatre is a cool venue. Located at 156 Eddy Street the space houses several theatres, with shows often happening simultaneously. They also have a small café to chill out at before or after shows, which also has a stage and is home to SATURDAY WRITE FEVER! At 
8:3O Every Second Saturday Night, you can try your hand at short-play writing and see it performed! Writers have half an hour to come up with a monolue around that night’s subject and then actors are chosen from the crowd. The event hosts are writers Stuart Bousel and Megan Cohen. The event is FREE!

Go See Sheherezade 14 before it closes. Thursday Friday Saturday 26th-28th of June at 8:00 PM tickets are $25

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