Arts & Theater

B Street Theatre’s New Comedies Festival booms in only its second year

The Sofia Theatre hosts the New Comedies Festival from June 16 to June 23.
The Sofia Theatre hosts the New Comedies Festival from June 16 to June 23.

Last June, B Street Theatre’s inaugural New Comedies Festival saw 70 plays competing to receive a full six-week production on the brand-new mainstage of the Sofia Tsakopoulos Center for the Arts. Four finalists were chosen for staged readings, and one was singled out to hit the mainstage.

This year, submissions to the second New Comedies Festival had to be capped at 700.

Whittling the selection down to four shows was a much more daunting task for the festival committee.

From June 16 to 23, B Street Theatre will present staged readings of the four selected plays: “How to Conquer America: A Mostly True History of Yogurt” by David Myers, “Teen Dad” by Adrienne Dawes, “Proclivity for Kiting” by Jacob T. Zack, and “Golden” by Peter Manos.

In How to Conquer America, Myers will take us back in time to 1975, when overlooked research assistant and daughter of immigrants Arlene Hoffman concocted the ad campaign that made yogurt a staple in American kitchens. Haunted by her dead immigrant father, Arlene recounts the story of clashing American, Russian and yogurt cultures.

Dawes’ Teen Dad tells the classic story of a goth teenager who tries to reunite her divorced parents on the eve of her graduation. She enlists the help of her mother’s fiance and healer, John, but her plans are foiled by her dad’s new girlfriend, Alisha. The family has to confront its pained history before it can emerge into its future.

Proclivity for Kiting, Zack’s play, reimagines Omaha, Nebraska, as a city quashed beneath a totalitarian regime where kites are a capital offense and the word “effervescent” has been banned. A couple, submerged in paranoia, attempts to endure as humanity grows harder to come by.

Manos’ Golden puts its characters in a fantastical land recovering from war. A traumatized, nonverbal man joins forces with a squire and his daughter as a crime accusation spins out of control. A servant, a magistrate, a noblewoman and a nun pile in on the action.

Although only one play will immediately go into production, undergoing rewrites and development before arriving at the mainstage in a year’s time, festival director Lyndsay Burch said the theater company is excited about all the festival finalists.

“I can almost guarantee that each of these playwrights will find their way onto the B Street stage in the future,” she said in a news release.

The winner of the 2018 New Comedies Festival, James Christy’s “The Forever Question,” is about to commence its mainstage run. It runs from Tuesday through July 14.

If you go

New Comedies Festival

When: June 16 to 23

Cost: Tickets are $12 per reading, or $40 for a Festival Pass to see one reading of each play. Festival-goers can also add a meal to their Festival Passes for $15.

Info and tickets: (916) 443-5300.