In a Park in Sacramento

Rated 3.0

In a Park in Sacramento brings together aspiring playwrights, seasoned directors and enthusiastic actors. This is City Theatre’s second annual Local Playwrights Festival, with double the offerings of last year: eight plays presented over two evenings. The short, locally written plays all have connections to Sacramento, both in content (all stories are based in Sacramento parks) and production—the novice playwrights, directors and actors all are or have been part of the Sacramento City College’s theater department.

The results are a mixed buffet, from fun to formulaic, sweet to deep, quirky to comedic, “has potential” to “pretty polished.” According to festival organizers, some playwrights partnered with the experienced directors to workshop their plays, while others stuck to the original script.

Whether the show was sentimental and idealistic (There You Go by April Massey, Meeting in MySpace by Elizabeth Turnquist) or sentimental and magical (Park Play by Mikey Pollock and Holly Grellier), or sentimental and sensitive (Welcome Home by Bertrand Younger Choice, with a warm, layered performance by Dominique Jones), each offered a new take on Sacramento. It was also fun to see Sactown as the center of the universe.

Some of the standouts:

What do Sacramentans really want? To sit in the park drinking a 40 without being bothered, of course. That’s the main thrust in Zack Sapunor’s Of Fools and Forties, the program’s rousing opener. The tension between the characters’ romantic speeches and their snappy, foul-mouthed rants was further developed by the cast, who added chemistry and physical humor to the mix.

Any More Wrong by L.E. Nall took the age-old premise of unrequited love and freshened it up with quick, witty banter, a nosey witness, and nice performances by Chip McKee and Jackie Rouse.

Jes Gonzalez’ Meet Your Maker was an idea-based play, unleashing an existential free-for-all in a park populated with characters named Adam, God, Faith, and Clergy. This existentialism was also found in the strange-yet-sweet Stereo Noon by Stephen Mason, with characters named Mitchell, Hot Toddy, Stuffy, Rosemary and Ginger.