Ghostlight Theatre Company wants to remind you that sometimes it’s good to be bad. That is why it is having a celebration of temptation. The Seven Deadly Sins Festival makes its debut with two nights of theater, art and a wicked fun time.
The idea for the festival, which includes 14 original one-act plays performed Saturday, Sept. 18, and Sunday, Sept. 19, came from Ghostlight’s five-year plan, according to spokesperson Jessica Goodman. Goodman said the company wanted to branch out and have a traveling show, which they accomplished with The Pillowman, and to have a festival.
“Festivals are such wonderful opportunities to bring different artists, ideas, and audiences together...,” artistic director John Sefel wrote in an e-mail. “During these two days, we will be premiering 14 new plays to our audience, and bringing creative-minded people (and I’m referring to both the artists and the audiences) together around a single, unifying theme.”
That theme is the Seven Deadly Sins, which Goodman said goes well with Ghostlight’s desire to perform darker shows closer to Halloween. Sin Festivals are also something that date back to the Middle Ages, according to Sefel, and were a way for the Church to spread messages of morality.
“This is a single theme that everyone can identify with: the seven sins represent being self-absorbed and chasing immediate gratification without regard to long-term consequence,” wrote Sefel in an e-mail. “I’d say many of us struggle with those challenges on a daily basis!”
Ghostlight Theatre Company received submissions for each category and then had the scripts read by a panel of judges that included artists, writers and others, all who had no affiliation with Ghostlight.
“It was surprising that ‘sloth’ was the sin that got the most submissions,” Goodman said. “You’d have thought they would have been too lazy.”
Two plays were chosen for each sin and seven will be performed the first night and then the other seven will be performed the second night. Every performance will be an original and all of the scripts have been included in an anthology, which is already available on www.amazon.com.
There are several different directors bringing the words to life, so Goodman predicts there will be a lot of different viewpoints and nothing repetitive.
Goodman said the Seven Deadly Sins are a wonderful thematic device because they link seven topics (pride, envy, sloth, avarice, lust, wrath and gluttony) but allow them flexibility in interpretation.
For example, local playwright David John Preece has written a play called Twighlight Hour in the category of envy. With this sin there are many different directions Preece could have gone in, but when he heard about the festival he knew he wanted to enter a play he’d been working on intermittently. Preece’s play is about the night Richard Nixon, with Pat Nixon by his side, was forced to resign. Such a historical play involved almost a year’s worth of research and Preece said he found himself being more sympathetic to the character of Nixon the deeper he dove.
“Seven Deadly Sins is ripe with opportunities,” Preece said. “I had to figure out which sin my play went with because honestly it touches upon all of them.”
During the festival only the first 10 minutes of the plays will be performed. Preece said as a writer it is imperative to hook the audience within those first 10 minutes or else they’ll be staring at their watches waiting for intermission. Preece said he is looking forward to seeing what the other writers have come up with and how the directors will work with the scripts.
The plays that will be performed include At the End of My Rope by Andrew Wetmore and Dress Rehearsal by Hortense Gerardo (Pride); Model Behavior by Hortense Gerardo and Twighlight Hour by David John Preece (Envy); Tow Lot by Peter Floyd and Otiose Souls by Sierra Perez-Sparks (Sloth); Memories for Sale by Jerry Bizantz and The Wheelbarrow by Ron Radice (Avarice); Tit for Tat by Jerry Bisantz and Sex Ed by Jerry Bisantz (Lust); At the Gates of Paradise by Regina Eliot-Ramsey and O Daddy, Poor Daddy by Jyl Lynn Felman (Wrath); and Let’s Do Lunch by Brendan Gillett and Try the Shrimp by Teresa Fisher.
Of course, theater does not have exclusive rights to sin. Ghostlight also collected works of art that depict the Seven Deadly Sins and this collection will be on display during the festival.