Long Beach Poppin' Play Festival

Theatre. Music. Art. A thrilling new happening for Long Beach Arts Month in October, with 11 World-Premiere Plays from some of the best local talent around! This year’s festival promises to be the best yet, with stories including hallucinogenic, guilt-and-heavy-metal-fueled wilderness survival tales (Headlights & Bush) and mysterious meditations on the the creative impulse, by way of ghost stories and lost artifacts of ancient Americana (Return to Thunder Mountain); tales of the day human beings break down the walls that separate them in dreams (Le Reve Collectif), and the bittersweet terror of the not-so-distant-past (Good Riddance, from the playwright who brought us Entropy General); plus, bravely experimental pieces that ruminate on family (Raised By Wolves), mortality (Garden of Ashes), and Alzheimer’s (Bring on the Dancing Girls) - and much, much more!

The 4th Annual Long Beach Poppin’ Play Festival, our latest in an award-winning series of new works theatre festivals! Each year, Alive assembles a diverse, committed, and dynamic group of local artists to create a mixed media extravaganza of world premiere plays from local Long Beach & LA-County writers, in an event that combines all manner of artistic disciplines into a month of wildly diverse (and often boldly experimental) stage entertainments.

 Shows:
October 7-8, 21-22, November 4-5, 18-19.
Friday @ 8pm. Saturdays @ 6pm & 9pm

Tickets:
$18 General.  $15 Students/Seniors.
$10 groups of 10 or more
(email
[email protected] for group reservations).

Multi Night Packages: (available to purchase at box office only
2 Nights- General $30. Students/Seniors $25
3 Nights- General $45. Students/Seniors $40

Lineup:
 
Friday  Night’s @ 8:00pm. The Secret World

“Headlights and Bush” by Aaron Van Geem, directed by Eammonn Fox

“Garden of Ashes” by Jan O’Connor, directed by Caprice Spencer Rothe

“Le Reve Collectif”  by Robert Edward, directed by Kate Bowen

 

Saturday Night’s @ 6pm. The Bittersweet Terror of the Past! 

“Awake from this Noirmare” by Shawn Kathryn Kane, directed by Andrew Eiden
 (Performed in 3 parts throughout the night)

“Raised by Wolves” by LaToya Morgan, directed by Ricci Dedola

“Good Riddance” by Ryan McClary, directed by Tony Bartolone

 

Saturday Night’s @ 9pm. Tales Beyond Reason! 

“Bring on the Dancing Girls” by Susan Eiden, directed by Ricci Dedola

“Rotations” by Bryan Madigan, directed by Ashley Allen

“Dracula” adapted from a story by Abhay Khosla, directed by Robert Edward

“Groove Apocalypse” written and directed by Robert Edward

“Return to Thunder Mountain” by Jasper Oliver, directed by Turner Munch

***What Critics Have Said About Past Festivals***

"Alive Theatre has never been afraid to take chances. That willingness to put themselves out there makes them the type of folk who can successfully mount a new-play festival*…+ That’s just about as alive as theatre can get."
- Greggory Moore, Greater Long Beach (2010)

"The young company’s already an institution; it’s received critical acclaim and fan adulation. It’s bold, no, scratch that, it’s audacious. It’s in our face but it’s also in our mind. It’s audacity challenges us and our hold on our lives, what we hold to be real, to be unreal..."
- James Scarborough, Grunion Gazette (2009)

"Judging by the chemistry of this galvanized group, along with their professionalism and talent, I predict a rash of breakout stars emerging from this group, as well as a thriving future for the company. . .Alive Theatre has the potential to be Long Beach's Steppenwolf (Chicago) or Actors Gang (LA)."
- Marchelle Hammack, Beachcomber Newspaper (2008)


Night 1 – Friday Shows @ 8pm – Strange Tales for Strange People! 

Headlights and Bush, by Aaron Van Geem
– 50min
Directed by Eamonn Fox
    
Irritated with drivers on the road who flash their brights at him, a young man concocts a plan to start a rumor that gang members are murdering people who do so. His roommates intoxicatedly convince him the only way for his plan to succeed is to actually murder someone, so the story has precedent. He returns the next night and informs his roommates that he blew up another driver‟s car with a hand grenade, and is forced flee the city to the distant wilderness. There, he must survive by using what little knowledge he has – eating bugs, starting fires, having hallucinogenic freakouts, and slumming it naked in a tent. But unbeknownst to him, the beautiful girl he attacked with a hand grenade survived, thanks to his timely intervention, and she and his stoner roommates are scouring the city and countryside, starting fights, listening to heavy metal, and riding a 2-seater bicycle on their way to find their friend. Will they rescue him in time? Does he even need rescuing? A surreal piece with a heavy survivalist bent, a forest set, and lots of hardcore doom metal. 

Garden of Ashes, by Jan O’Connor
– 20min
Directed by Caprice Spencer Rothe
    
Oscar, longtime record keeper and caretaker at a storehouse for the cremated remains (or "cremains") of the thousands of unknown and unclaimed dead in a large city, is visited by Rachel, a woman who suspects an old friend of hers may have ended up there. Quiet, calm, and stoic, but laced with a kind humor, the script recounts the daily life of collecting, storing, and ultimately disposing of what remains of a culture‟ unclaimed dead – and what it‟ like from both sides when someone goes looking for someone they loved in such a place. A delicate (and even educational) piece.
*Los Angeles FirstStage One Act Play Contest – First Place winner 

Le Reve Collectif, by Robert Edward – 50min
Directed by Kate Bowen
    
Glen goes to sleep one night and dreams, never suspecting that he, along with an entire world of sleeping dreamers, is about to witness a gigantic leap in human consciousness, as the walls separating dreamers from one another in dreamspace begin to break down, allowing any and everyone to sit in, view, and even participate in one another‟ dreams. Slowly realizing the ramifications of a public dreamscape, Glen encounters friends and former lovers journeying through the surreal, disturbing, hilarious, and most private dreams of loved ones and strangers alike. Yet even as they explore a fantastic human frontier – each with their own very different take on what it could mean for them – the landscape of humanity‟ slumbering consciousness is discovered, colonized, and exploited by the waking world. What are dreams worth to us when they are readily available and totally public, and anyone can have one? Can even our most private and subconscious fears and desires be commodified? What does it take to commit to a dream? And what do we retain on waking when they pass us by? A rollicking, meditative, and melancholy head trip about failed love, work, creativity, and aging, seen through one man‟ eyewitness view of a world both embracing and debasing its own most mysterious depths. To be developed with the participation of director and actors.

 Night 2 – Saturday Early Shows @ 6pm– Journey Into the Unknown!

Awake from this Noirmare, by Shawn Kathryn Kane – 25-30min - In 3 Parts
Directed by Andrew Eiden
    
A format experiment, this untitled comedic noir piece takes place in three separate chapters over a single night, detailing the story of a classic private dick (who has a habit of narrating his hard-boiled thoughts out loud to complete strangers) and the series of femme fatales who seek his aid in solving a sordid condiment-related crime. A piece with powerful visual and stylistic noir influences, as well as a chance to chew some scenery in the tradition of great noir films like Double Indemnity, and The Maltese Falcon 

Raised by Wolves, by La Toya Morgan – 25min
Directed by Ricci Dedola
    
A family implodes during Thanksgiving dinner in postmodern sitcom style. Family is inescapable. They know all your secrets. They render you vulnerable. They are your own personal brand of kryptonite. Enter Noah Reinhart, come home to visit the family on Thanksgiving after a two year absence. With wife in tow, he braves an emotionally volatile mother, boorish father, and crude thug older brother - and before they can pass the drumsticks, old wounds and deep secrets are revealed when an unexpected (and potentially murderous) guest shows up on their doorstep. Fast-paced comedy, with a heart of real family drama, and the idea that as much as family may despise each other, they‟l circle the wagons when an outsider threatens. Lots of opportunity for improvisation and inappropriate comedy.

Good Riddance, by Ryan McClary – 50min
Directed by Tony Bartolone
    
It's Fall, 2011. The Van Houten High School Class of 2001 is gathering in the gym for their ten year reunion. Derek doesn‟ want to be here. Tommy wants to make amends. Cassandra wants everything to be perfect. Mikey wants the memories. Heather can‟ feel a goddamned thing. Jason doesn‟ want to see Jessica. Jessica doesn‟ want to see Jason. Megan doesn't know why she's here. And Murphy won't stay dead. Ten years after, who has survived – and what is left of them? A darkly funny script in the vein of classic 80‟ comedies that looks back in anger, indignance, regret, and maybe just a little affection. From the author of Entropy General, this show is a huge opportunity for actors and director alike to shine, with striking material about the bittersweet terror of the not-so-distant past.  

Night 3 – Saturday Late Night Shows @ 9pm – The Bittersweet Terror of Past & Future!

Bring on the Dancing Girls, by Susan C. Hunter – 15min
Directed by Ricci Dedola
    
Within a foggy void, an old man who looks like a young sprout struggles with seemingly simple everyday tasks. A variety of odd characters enter and confuse him further, as raucous music is played by a live band who progressively shed articles of clothing throughout the play. Everyone dances as the old/young man reconnects with his one true love, a middle-aged linebacker in a wedding veil named Maureen. A veiled meditation on Alzheimer‟, the play presents a lot of great, pregnant imagery, and ultimately becomes a kind of celebration of one man‟ mortality.

Rotations, by Bryan Madigan – 15min
Directed by Ashley Allen
    
3 Characters wind their way through the same peculiar series of arguments, their „oles‟in the conversation changing with each rotation. The switching positions and small differences in each shift reveal hidden facets of their personalities, interactions, and the show itself as they wander through their short, fractal, fatalistic story.  

Dracula, adapted from a story by Abhay Khosla – 10min
Directed by Robert Edward
    
A young man, a young woman, and a stately professor are going to kill Dracula – or, at least, really piss him off, by murdering his dry cleaner, building a racially confused Chinese Frankenstein, and shoving an electric toothbrush up his nose – or they would if they could stop discussing their job fears, sexual histories, and the important questions of their time: Is Dracula evil? Does God exist? Is killing Dracula just straight up murdering a guy and, if so, is that not OK? Are the anatomical diagrams of Dracula in the ladies‟restroom, in fact, accurate? A comedic improvisational piece based on material adapted (with permission) from a webcomic by internet critic & crank Abhay Khosla. Aggressive, scatological, profane, and dreamlike – with style.

Groove Apocalypse, by Robert Edward – 15min
Directed by Robert Edward
    
Between the 7th and 17th Century, there were dozens of reported cases of what came to be known as outbreaks of "The Dancing Plague." In every case throughout history, anywhere between dozens and thousands of people were reported to spontaneously and furiously begin dancing - and were unable to stop. They would dance until exhausted, and in many cases, died from the strain. Those afflicted with the dancing plague (also called "St. Vitus‟Dance") would sing and moan, causing public property damage with their actions and behaving aggressively toward non-dancers in their presence. This was well reported and documented. Those investigating the phenomenon did not classify it as hysteria or religious mania – they claimed it was an actual medical condition, curable only by dancing the disease away. After the 17th Century, incidents of the plague abruptly stopped, the phenomenon relegated to history‟ mysteries. But what if it wasn‟ truly gone? What if it was only biding its time, a viral plague building in obscurity and potency – until today? A 10-15 minute, trailer-like, Cliff‟ Notes version of the end of the modern world by dancing plague – a groove apocalypse seen in miniature via the experiences of a handful of people. Breakneck-paced, straight-faced comedy with dance music out the wazoo, culminating in a dance party to end the weekend of every festival.

Return to Thunder Mountain, by Jasper Oliver – 50min
Directed by Turner Munch
    
The son of a legendary American folk artist slowly loses his sanity and nuclear family when he throws caution and his nicely progressing life to the wind by trying to follow in his talented-but-obsessed father‟ footsteps – by revitalizing Thunder Mountain – a magnificent DIY roadside Americana oddity in the tradition of the Winchester House and other such artifacts of cultural detritus. A truck driver‟ leg is stolen, an ethereal cowboy spins a yarn over a campfire, the bones of gods are unearthed, and Armageddon may be impending. Explores madness, obsession, and the cost of dedication to an artistic ideal, in a fun and spooky package of surrealism, grandiose posturing, and unsettling introspection - all in the tradition of surrealist comedies, ghost stories and western.

 

 

 

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