Potomac Playmakers excel at bringing plays to life
The Potomac Playmakers are once again giving local playwrights the opportunity to have their scripts come to life on stage.
The 4th annual One-Act Play Festival is set for July 12-14 at The Women’s Club in Hagerstown. The festival will feature three plays that were selected out of a pool of about 15-to-20 submissions.
“The mission of the festival is to grow and develop original plays,” said Jim Zuna, an actor, director and member of The Potomac Playmakers.
“This is more about the art of writing plays. ... encouraging aspiring playwrights on a local level.”
For the first two years, the Potomac Playmakers worked with Frostburg State University, performing prize-winning plays from the university’s One-Act Play Writing Competition at The Potomac Playmakers’ One-Act Festival.
Since, The Potomac Playmakers’ review committee has accepted original scripts from playwrights who live in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Submissions are typically 30 minutes in length and are rated in terms of quality and feasibility, according to Zuna.
The committee then makes offers to the playwrights to develop their scripts into live plays on stage to be a part of the three-day festival. The Potomac Playmakers supply the directors and actors from within the group.
Zuna, who will be directing one of the plays, is drawn to the one-act play festival because he enjoys development phases of the process.
“This is a collaboration and there is a magical element to it,” said Zuna, who has also acted in several plays. “Sometimes it just happens overnight like magic dust, but there is often a lot of growing and nurturing of the cast before things come together.”
While the festival will take place at The Women’s Club, which the troupe has been renting space for productions, it may have a new home next year.
The theatrical group purchased the former Cedar Lawn Missionary Church in 2017. The site, at 17303 W. Washington St. near McDade and Hopewell roads in Hagerstown, is in the process of drawing up site plans for approval in order to make renovations.
Zuna expects the troupe to move into its new home by winter of 2020. He says that the Playmakers, who were founded in 1926, are the fourth- or fifth-oldest community theater group in the country and the second-oldest in Maryland.
Showtimes for the festival will be 8 p.m. for the Friday, July 12, and Saturday, July 13 performances, while the Sunday, July 14 matinee will start at 3 p.m. The festival is a “pay what you can” show with no set ticket price, but donations are gratefully accepted at the door to help defray the costs of the production.
For more information, visit The Potomac Playmakers’ website at www.potomacplaymakers.org.