Tipping Point Theatre to Host Second Annual Sandbox Play Festival
Performances will begin Saturday and run until Sunday.
Thespians and theatergoers take note: The Arts and Acts festival kicks off in downtown Northville this weekend, bringing four original 10-minute plays to the Tipping Point Theatre.
The Sandbox Play Festival performances will be held at noon Saturday and at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday.
"The festival came from a direct desire to start the Arts and Acts Weekend," said James Kuhl, Tipping Point producing artistic director. "What had happened before, it was called Art in the Sun, and it was solely a juried art show. A group of people approached me with getting Tipping Point involved with a larger arts festival. This is the second year we've done this larger festival."
The entire show will last about an hour. Tickets cost $5.
"We want to present theater in a frame where it's easier for people to simply be downtown, come to the theater, sit for an hour, enjoy as much theater as possible, then head on to do something else," he said.
The planning begins in January when Tipping Point sends out a call for submissions for original short plays. There is one stipulation: The play must take place in or deal with Michigan, or the playwright must be from or have lived in Michigan.
"The spirit of the festival is very much, I think, to celebrate Michigan artists," Kuhl said.
This year's festival will feature Two-Out-Of-Three by O.G. Ueberroth, 18 Holes by David MacGregor, Heartless by Jason Bergsieker and The iMyth of Sisyphus by Al Soerdsma.
Bergsieker, a Ferndale resident who has been taking classes at Oakland Community College for the past year, is fairly new to play writing. Heartless will be his first play to make it to the stage.
"One of my instructors from my screenwriting and play writing class made me promise I would enter the Sandbox Play Festival," Bergsieker said. "I was a little bit surprised, because it was the first time I entered to try and get into any festival. And at the same time, my professor did not get into the festival. It was pretty funny, but he's super supportive."
Bergsieker said he got the idea for Heartless after a friend ordered a T-shirt from threadless.com that depicted The Wizard of Oz character Tin Man robbing an organ donor truck.
"Tin Man is trying to steal a heart because he can't get one any other way," Bergsieker said. "You definitely want to be able to sympathize with the characters or understand that they have human qualities, but it's definitely a comedy. It's taking characters that we all know and putting them in this parody situation."
Bergsieker said he is excited about his play being in Northville because of the commitment of the director and the actors at Tipping Point.
"It's a great first step," he said. "Everyone I've met at the theater is really nice, really professional, and they're taking it very seriously because they are passionate about what they want to do, too.
"I think that was more exciting to me than anything else because anyone could have taken it and done a poor job of it," Bergsieker said. "But everyone is so passionate about what they were doing there."
Hartland resident David MacGregor is a veteran playwright with four plays produced on the stage at The Purple Rose Theatre Company, including the world premiere of Consider the Oyster, which is now showing.
MacGregor's contribution to the Sandbox Play Festival, 18 Holes, is actually the shorter, first version of his full length play Vino Veritas, which is being made into a movie this year. Filming will begin during mid-July in Nebraska.
18 Holes was an idea MacGregor got while playing golf with his best friend, who lives in Saginaw. The two men were approached on the golf course by a single golfer who asked to join them.
"My friend Dave, who is a very nice guy, smiles and says, 'Why don't you go on ahead because we're going to be talking about things that you will probably find disturbing,' and made a joke out of it," MacGregor said. "But it got me thinking because he was right. If that guy had joined us, it would have completely changed the things we talked about and the way we talked about them. Between he and I, there's no filter, no judgment. We can be candid and honest about anything."
The play is 18 separate conversation snippets between two guys on a golf course. It has been shown at One Acts festivals before and is an audience favorite, according to MacGregor.
Tipping Point will hand out awards for its top two choices, as well as the audience's favorite play, at the 5 p.m. Sunday performance.
"It's good, affordable theater," Kuhl said. "It's one of those things that it's more competitive than a movie, as far as the ticket price. And you get the benefit of seeing four plays performed by professional area actors. The value of the production is well worth the ticket price."
For more information about The Sandbox Play Festival, visit the Tipping Point Theatre online at tippingpointtheatre.com.