On the Verge Theatre Festival

Posted on Aug 3 by SEASONS Magazine

This month enjoy unique and exciting performances at Santa Barbara’s On the Verge Theatre Festival. Join local artists and teachers from three of Santa Barbara’s high schools as they bring fresh material to the Santa Barbara theatre scene. Kate Bergstrom, Riley Berris, and Jessica Ballonoff, along with Associate Director Josiah Davis of Los Angeles, bring their diversity of perspectives to bear with a colorful splash of new plays dealing with the issues of our time. On the Verge is a theatre company that is not afraid to take bold risks with their provocative pieces. Their goal is to spark conversation, getting audience members to talk about important but controversial topics.

(From left to right:) On the Verge Associate Directors Josiah Davis, Riley Berris, Jessica Ballonoff, and Artistic Director Kate Bergstrom at the Community Arts Workshop. Photo by Ben Crop.

On the Verge Theatre Festival is a sponsored project hosted at the Community Arts Workshop (631 Garden St.) which has been an incredible space for these artists to try new things and bring exciting work to the table. CAW has been essential to the development of this project and provides an affordable space in which these local artists can experiment.

Site manager Casey Caldwell is happy to see these ideas come to life, saying “We don’t generally see this kind of material presented in Santa Barbara. The company is wonderfully diverse and inclusive, and the plays they present ask pressing questions that our community wants to talk about.”

On the Verge is focused on combining local talent (actors, playwrights and high school students) with the best in theatre from across the country. Facilitating the collaboration of local talent with national playwrights and professional actors from Los Angeles creates the most amazing environment. On the Verge supports talent from all backgrounds and produces work from many female and LGBTQ writers, encouraging the growth of a diverse community.

The cast of At the Table, Photo by Andy Cowell.

This creative festival features three mainstage works, as well as several new short plays. Michael Perlman’s At the Table is a play of fiery ideas rooted in the close relationships of a group of friends gathered in a mountain cabin for a weekend. New visitors to their clique throw off their assumptions about each other, and suddenly it is not so clear who can stay “At the Table.” Thais Francis’s Outcry is a poetic illumination of the epidemic of police brutality facing African-Americans today. It is full of dance, humor, and heightened language.  A Likely Pair is a modern fairy tale about siblings, family, and the poison that can affect them.

A rapid-fire duo of new short plays, FEMFEST: A Play, by Maggie Yates and peanutbutterjellybagelcreamcheese by Danielle Draper & Lindsey Twigg, premieres along with a reading of Meanwhile There Are Letters by Declan Hughes, presented with UCSB’s Launch Pad Program and The Margaret Millar Charitable Trust.

Actor Brandon Nnoli from Outcry, Photo credit: Josiah Davis/Mathew Goldsholl.

Audiences are guaranteed to have an engaging and unique experience, in which viewers will leave feeling entertained and wanting more. There will be live music performances, dance, yoga and an encouraged open discussion after performances. The goal is for audience members to feel as if they are part of the performance itself!

Do not miss On the Verge Theatre Festival, which runs from August 3-13 at the Community Arts Workshop For more information about performances and showtimes please visit www.onthevergefest.org.

—Lohana Richmond



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