A night of new one-acts from Arlington Players and Little Theatre of Alexandria

Three winning plays: 'Guinea Pig Apocalypse' by Tony Pasqualini, 'Wild Horses' by Brandy Victoria Durham, and 'Across a Crowded Room' by F. J. Hartland.

The Arlington Players (TAP) has partnered with the Little Theatre of Alexandria (LTA) to bring a premiere of three one-act plays to the Northern Virginia theater scene, running March 26 to April 10, 2022, at Thomas Jefferson Community Theater.

Since 1978, LTA has run a One-Act Competition with the goal of bringing new works to the stage. Starting with a small group of volunteers soliciting scripts from friends and local playwrights, the competition has grown immensely over the past 44 years into a competition that receives more than 100 submissions annually from around the world. Though the competition has expanded, the goal has remained the same: Bring new playwrights’ voices and work to the stage, and provide an opportunity for up-and-coming theater talent to get involved in the community.

LEFT: Charles Blizzard (Adam) and Nicole Lamberson (Eve) plead to the sky for assistance during the apocalypse, in ‘Guinea Pig Apocalypse.’ CENTER: Mikel Rios (Her) stares up into the night sky as Rajesh Mirchandani (Him) describes the constellations, in ‘Across a Crowded Room.’ RIGHT: Ayyaz Choudhury (Malik) contemplates what to do after an unwelcome visitor stops by on the beach, in ‘Wild Horses.’ Photos by Brian Knapp.

Each year, LTA assembles a team of readers to comb through these 100+ scripts to find the best of the best. The shows are scored on a variety of elements, including concept, structure, dialogue, and technical feasibility. For shows that impress the committee in the first round, a dramatic read-through is staged to hear the plays out loud and to discuss which shows should be produced. Once they’ve been read aloud, a few key questions will determine the winners: Which shows elicit the most feelings from the audience? Which plays have the most original or unique concept? Which stories appeal to a diverse audience?

This year, the LTA reading team selected three shows from playwrights around the country: Guinea Pig Apocalypse by Tony Pasqualini from Los Angeles, CA; Wild Horses by Brandy Victoria Durham from Silver Spring, MD, for whom this is their first-ever produced work; and Across a Crowded Room by F. J. Hartland from Johnstown, PA.

Guinea Pig Apocalypse follows the story of two parents dealing with a bizarre incident with their son’s class guinea pig, which leads to an apocalyptic disaster.

“The show is on the absurd side,” commented Juli Tarabek Blacker, director of the show. “But the message buried in all of the madcap is a good one, and one that is becoming more and more needed as the years go on.”

Charles Blizzard (Adam) demands answers from Joan Evans (Mrs. Schultz) after she climbs to the roof, in ‘Guinea Pig Apocalypse.’ Photo by Brian Knapp.

Wild Horses brings three campers to the stage who struggle to survive the elements and each other at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“The show hits on an important topic to me: making outdoor recreation feel accessible to all,” said director Farrell Tapscott. “My hope is the play will spark conversation over this topic because awareness and conversation are the sparks of progress!”

Across a Crowded Room follows two individuals meeting for the first time at a party at a suburban home as they peer into their future “together.”

“This isn’t a ‘happily ever after’–style story, where the tale ends with two star-crossed lovers beginning their lives,” director Alexa Roggenkamp tells us. “It is the realistic story of the celebrations and challenges of a lifetime of love.”

The Arlington Players/Little Theatre of Alexandria’s Night of One Acts will play at the Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre – 125 South Old Glebe Road, in Arlington, VA. Performances are on weekends from March 26 through April 10th, 2022. The April 2 performance will have sign language interpretation. For tickets, ($15–$25) go online.

About The Arlington Players (TAP): The Arlington Players is a nonprofit, volunteer theater company. Our mission is to produce epic and artistically challenging theater by cultivating an environment of excellence and education for all of our members, volunteers, and audiences in the communities of Arlington County, VA, and the greater DC area. Follow TAP on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

About The Little Theatre of Alexandria: The Little Theatre of Alexandria seeks to create a vibrant, thriving artistic space where our members and the greater community can engage in rewarding theatrical experiences that entertain, educate, and build community. Follow LTA on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.


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