WEEKEND: Playwrights’ Festival begins this weekend

PORT TOWNSEND — A feast of drama, laughter and spice is about to be laid out.

The 16th annual Playwrights’ Festival, presented by Key City Public Theatre, begins tonight with a menu of three one-act plays — all comedies — on stage at the Key City Playhouse at 419 Washington St.

These plays, Sandy Diamond’s “Parrot,” Richard Weston’s “The Rug” and “PRNYC” by Mark Rose, run through Sunday and then return for more performances next weekend.

The one-act productions will take the stage at 8 p.m. today and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, and will return to the playhouse next Friday through Sunday, Feb. 17-19. Admission is $15 to see all three.

The festival, which brings together writers and actors from across the region and nation, progresses over 10 days and nights with staged readings, works-in-progress and a one-woman show, “Is Sex Possible?” by guest artist Constance Congdon.

Congdon, an internationally known playwright, will perform her solo show — a comedic exploration of sex and dating after age 50 — in the Key City Playhouse at 7 p.m. next Thursday.

“Is Sex Possible?” has been performed in New York City, Kansas and Nebraska, to mixed reactions.

“When Congdon first performed the play in Nebraska last year, one audience member laughed so hard she hit her head on the table,” noted Denise Winter, Key City’s artistic director.

Then there was another patron who told Congdon, “You should have your mouth washed out with soap!”

Congdon, a teacher and playwright in residence at Amherst College in Massachusetts, will give a free, public playwriting workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18.

Then on Sunday, Feb. 19, she will teach an advanced playwriting intensive from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.; the cost is $85, or $75 for Key City Public Theatre members.

Congdon was last in residence at Key City during the Northwest premiere of her play “SO FAR: The Children of the Elvi,” in 2007.

“I am so excited to have Congdon returning to Port Townsend to share her knowledge and artistry with us,” said Winter.

Diverse mix

The festival offers theater lovers a diverse mix of stories and formats.

For example, the one-act “Parrot” is about seven archetypal characters in a small-town post office, while “The Rug” has a mysterious rug delivered to a man who keeps hearing the words “It’s your turn.”

His turn for what is slowly revealed by a couple of goofy moving men and a woman dressed only in high heels and an overcoat.

The third one-act play, “PRNYC,” takes place in a high-pressure public relations firm in New York City, where a dysfunctional team of coworkers tries to sell a new eco-tourism cruise complete with live chickens and organic, raw food.

Other highlights of the festival: staged readings of “Senior Street Show” by Deborah Daline; “Dream Voyeur” by Jack O’Connor and “Delayed for Weather” by Steve Fetter at 7 p.m. Tuesday with admission of $10.

And three plays in progress, “The Odyssey” by Charlie Bethel, “Diary of a M.A.D. Caregiver” by D. Runyon Fleener and “Man Catches Fish” by Gin Hammond, will be presented in order to spark audience feedback.

These performances are slated for 7 p.m. this Sunday and Wednesday and 2:30 p.m. next Saturday, Feb. 18. Admission will again be $10.

To find out more about these and other Playwrights’ Festival workshops and performances taking place around Port Townsend, visit www.KeyCityPublicTheatre.org or phone 360-379-0195.

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

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