The Bayonne Theater Company, a nonprofit theater group, is searching for short comedy plays from the Bayonne community for the group’s upcoming “Comedy Playwrights’ Project” in the spring at Grace Lutheran Church.The group’s five past performances have been written mostly by group members, but it wants to tap into the Bayonne community for diamonds in the rough. Submissions should be between 15 and 45 minutes, and have a healthy dose of humor.
In December, the tightknit group presented “Mystery Play,” a murder mystery directed by Shawn Norton. Another group member, Jennifer Lubach, wrote and directed a November play called “Small Spaces,” a comic tale of being trapped in small spaces. Before that, it presented a Woody Allen play called “God,” which regularly breaks the fourth wall and requires actors to sometimes play audience members.
“Now we’re asking new writers to send in their plays, and we’ll produce them,” said Lubach, who has directed two original performances, including an evening of short skits. The group, three years old, funds performances through donations and ticket sales. The group is behind Bayonne’s first and second annual Renaissance Festival and the Bayonne’s Got Talent show. With enough to put on another show, the group needs material to perform.
“We’re just pooling the talents of everybody in the area and giving them a chance to put their talents on display.” – Shawn Norton
The more the merrier
The group has a troupe of regular actors, but, Lubach said, “We happily welcome anyone who wants to come in and audition. It just grows our family.”
“This is the essence of community theater,” said Shawn Norton, a musician with a varied career in off-off-Broadway and experience putting together shows on a shoestring.“It’s about getting people involved,” he said.“We look for people who want to have fun, have never done theater before. We’re just pooling the talents of everybody in the area and giving them a chance to put their talents on display.”
Bayonne historically has plenty of talent in writing and entertainment. George R.R. Martin, Tammy Blanchard, and Frank Langella may be Bayonne’s most famed industry success stories.
“It’s a very exhilarating experience to complete writing something and to actually have people breathe the life into it that you envisioned while writing it,” Norton said. His wife, a lyricist and music composer, has also worked on off-Broadway plays.
“The Bayonne Theater Company is doing something truly unusual,” said Joseph Krawczyk, an award-winning playwright from Bayonne.“It is providing a platform for playwrights who haven’t had major productions. Without question, it is rare to find a community theater, even a regional equity theater, which generally does plays produced Off Broadway and on Broadway, to take a chance on new work.”
Writers can send unpublished comedic scripts to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 31. Scripts should be no more than six characters and 15 to 45 minutes in length. Plays will be read and chosen by February 14and go into production shortly thereafter. A confirmation e-mail will be sent, and those chosen will be a part of production in early May.
Rory Pasquariello can be reached at email@example.com.