“Dysfunctional relationships are what most good plays center around in some way,” says Mildred’s Umbrella founder Jennifer Decker. With the company’s ninth annual Museum of Dysfunction
in the wings, 19 new ten-minute plays are about to put your so-called strained relationships to shame. With help from fellow Houston director Leighza Walker, the Umbrella reading team uncovered new works from both professional and student playwrights that, for Decker, run the gamut of emotions. “There’s a good mixture of comedy, tragedy and silliness that there’s something for everyone.” Watch out for college playwright Audrey Webb’s comic tale of a loner kid convincing a grown-up to buy her beer, and professional mainstay Suzanna Bradbeer’s Bethlehem, PA
, which promises a dead pet, a case of insomnia and a recent mastectomy.
8 p.m. Thursday. Also 8 p.m. June 30, July 1, July 6-8. Studio 101, 1824 Spring, No. 101. For information, call 832-463-0409 or visit mildredsumbrella.com
. Pay what you can.
For the ninth year running, Mildred’s Umbrella Theater Company (MU) will produce two weekends of new works at its annual Museum of Dysfunction short play festival. The festival has become a staple of the summer theatre calendar, featuring local talent and plays that probe the dark and funny edges of the everyday. Nineteen short plays were selected from over 100 entries by emerging and established writers nationwide, with several spots held exclusively for high school and college students as a way to encourage their craft and build their portfolio. The festival will run over two consecutive weekends: June 29-July 1 and July 6-8, 2017, at Studio 101 in Spring Street Studios, located minutes from downtown Houston in Historic First Ward.
“We have always used this festival as an opportunity to provide stage time for new plays,” says MU Artistic Director Jennifer Decker. “This year, we have chosen eight new plays by high school and college students, giving these young writers an opportunity to work with mentor directors to further develop their writing skills, and allowing them to see their work come alive on stage alongside the work of professional playwrights, and encouraging a love of theatre in the younger generation."
This year’s plays feature up-and-comers as well as well-known writers, including: Diana Burbano, Donna Hoke, Evan Guildford-Blake, Daniella Vinitski, Emily Vieweg, Shannon Murdoch, Arthur M. Jolly, Kay Adshead, Matthew Weaver, and Suzanne Bradbeer. Also among the playwrights are seven students: Audrey Webb (Texas State University), Emily Elizabethe Lewis (University of Alabama), Carol Harkness (University of Houston), Magdalena Hill (High School for the Performing and Visual Arts), Citlali Chavana (Heights High School), Sonya Rodriguez (Heights High School), and Evie Cockrell (High School for the Performing and Visual Arts). Directing the plays this year are a bevy of local artists, including: Bree Bridger (Mildred’s Umbrella), Rod Todd (Mildred’s Umbrella), Miranda Herbert (Mildred’s Umbrella), Ruth McCleskey (Boiling Point Productions), Elizabeth Seabolt (Mildred’s Umbrella), Guy Cohen, Matthew Jamison, Jaymes Julian Wilson (Mildred’s Umbrella), Kayla Boffone, Jeff Wax, Clara Goodwin, Brandy Carie, Peter Ton, Jonathan Gonzalez (Main Street Theater), and Adriana Dominguez. Catch the full lineup online at www.mildredsumbrella.com.