<a href="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2016\/05\/ENT.Playfest.web_.jpg"><img src="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2016\/05\/ENT.Playfest.web_.jpg" alt="ENT.Playfest.web" width="123" height="145" class="alignleft size-full wp-image-12522" \/><\/a>\r\n\r\nIf you had the chance to choose your final words, what would you write?\r\n\r\nFind out how Lynn, a death row inmate, answers this question in Legacy, a short play by Westerville, Ohio, playwright Chris Shaw Swanson. \u00a0\u00a0\r\n\r\nLegacy will be presented May 20 and 21 by the Pocahontas County Drama Workshop as part of the inaugural Opera House PlayFest.\r\n\r\nAccording to her website www.chrisshawswanson.com, Swanson began performing at the age of seven, progressing to community theater in early adulthood.\u00a0This led to improv comedy at a local radio station where she also wrote promotions and commercials.\u00a0 The writing evolved into a job as an advertising copywriter, but her theatre muse eventually enticed her to return to her real love - play writing.\u00a0Her work has been performed by more than 90 theater companies world-wide, and she has received numerous awards, including the Goshen Peace Play Prize.\r\n\r\nWhen asked about the origins of Legacy, Swanson wrote: \u201cI was inspired to write the play after my husband discovered on the Internet a listing of actual last words spoken by U.S. inmates prior to their executions.\u00a0The listing led me to contemplate the impact Internet publication might have on today\u2019s condemned criminals.\u00a0Might convicts, for example, be more mindful in choosing their final words, knowing those words will be available for downloading by the public seemingly for years to come?\u00a0Might some convicts also see those words as an opportunity to reinvent themselves, to propagate legacies based on untruths?\u00a0Speculations like these drove me to write the play.\u00a0Authentic convict quotes are incorporated \u2013 and properly cited \u2013 throughout the script.\u201d\r\n\r\nPortraying inmate Lynn is Jamie Strauss.\u00a0Strauss is a Marlinton resident and, with her husband, Mark, owns the Clean Cow Laundromat.\u00a0Strauss wowed audiences last year in her theater debut as the mesmerizing Irene Adler in the Drama Workshop production of Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure. \u00a0\r\n\r\nJay Miller will perform the role of Reverend. Miller, who resides in Hillsboro, is passionate about tutoring arithmetic and math at the Hillsboro and Marlinton Elementary schools.\u00a0Miller also first appeared on stage in the Drama Workshop\u2019s Sherlock Holmes, playing the befuddled King of Bohemia to great comedic effect.\r\n\r\nRounding out the cast is Jared Bennett as Player, who recites the last words of the inmates. Bennet is originally from Richwood, and currently teaches seventh grade English at Marlinton Middle School. This will be his first production since high school, and he is excited to be part of the cast.\r\n\r\n<a href="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2016\/05\/ENT.-PlayFest.web_.jpg"><img src="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2016\/05\/ENT.-PlayFest.web_-276x300.jpg" alt="ENT. PlayFest.web" width="276" height="300" class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-12523" \/><\/a>\r\n\r\n<strong>\u2018Pumps\u2019<\/strong>\r\n\r\nStylish versus sensible.\u00a0Pizzaz versus practical. Confidence versus comfort. \u00a0\r\n\r\nThe ultimate fashion shoe dilemma is explored in the 10-minute comedy Pumps, to be presented May 20 and 21 by the Pocahontas County Drama Workshop as part of the inaugural Opera House PlayFest.\r\n\r\nPumps was written by playwright Brett Hursey, an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Longwood University, in Farmville, Virginia. When asked how he became a playwright, Hursey replied, \u201cI started out acting at a very young age all the way up to my late teens.\u00a0Then I discovered in playwriting, I got to act all the parts first.\u00a0 Both my Master\u2019s thesis and dissertation were two-act comedies.\u201d\r\n\r\nHursey\u2019s comedies have appeared in more than 200 theaters across the country including venues in Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hollywood, as well as internationally in England, Belgium, Luxembourg, Romania, Australia and Canada.\u00a0He\u2019s also had more than 50 off\/off-off Broadway productions in Manhattan.\r\n\r\nIn his play Pumps, Stephie is a career-driven businesswoman who has an unhealthy relationship with her favorite pair of patent-leather heels.\u00a0She loves the confidence she feels while wearing them, but the pain they cause her feet has become nearly too much to bear.\u00a0Stephie\u2019s tough-love husband, Dave, meanwhile, is determined to help her make a clean break from this shoe-cycle-of-abuse. \u00a0\r\n\r\nStephie is played by Jamie Strauss. Her debut stage performance was as the dynamic Irene Adler in the 2015 Drama Workshop production of Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure.\u00a0Strauss and her husband Mark own and operate the Clean Cow Laundromat in Marlinton. \u00a0\r\n\r\nThe role of Dave will be played by Chris Curry, who portrayed villain James Larrabee in the Drama Workshop\u2019s Sherlock Holmes, and also appeared as an extra in the films The Dark Knight Rises and Angel\u2019s Perch. Curry moved to Pocahontas County in 2008 and is currently assistant manager of Rite Aid in Marlinton.\r\n\r\n<a href="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2016\/05\/PlayFest.png"><img src="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2016\/05\/PlayFest-300x218.png" alt="PlayFest" width="300" height="218" class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-12529" \/><\/a>\r\n\r\n<strong>\u2018Suburban Garden\u2019 <\/strong>\r\n\r\nAn alluring Flower raises her head toward the sunshine and sways gracefully in the breeze.\u00a0Nearby, a captivated Weed, muddy and broken, admires her, while Fate lurks in the background. \r\n\r\nCould beautiful Flower and ugly Weed have any kind of relationship, and how would Fate intervene?\r\n\r\nWheeling playwright Thomas Scott Stobart imagines this scenario in his short play Suburban Garden which will be performed as part of the Opera House PlayFest, the 2016 production by the Pocahontas County Drama Workshop. Performances will be May 20 and 21 at the Pocahontas County Opera House.\r\n\r\nSometimes called \u201cThe Bard Of Wheeling,\u201d Stobart may be better known in his hometown as the proprietor of the quirky Paradox Book Store, an old-fashioned used book establishment in the city\u2019s historic market district.\u00a0Stobart studied playwriting at H.B. Studios in New York, and has written six full-length and 17 one act plays.\u00a0When Suburban Garden premiered in Pittsburgh in a festival of 10 minute, one act plays, Pittsburgh critic Christopher Ross proclaimed it the best of the festival.\u00a0Stobart says that of all of his plays it is by far the most popular and has been produced as far away as Japan.\r\n\r\n\u201cI first saw this play in Wheeling\u2019s StoFest play festival, back in 2010,\u201d Opera House PlayFest director Eric Fritzius said. \u201cThe StoFest festivals were produced by Wheeling\u2019s Independent Theatre Collective to honor the work of Tom Stobart by producing his short plays alongside those of other playwrights. Surburban Garden was by far my favorite play of the evening and I\u2019ve been looking for a chance to direct it since.\u00a0 To me it cleverly captures some universal truths about romantic attraction.\u201d\r\n\r\nMarisol Carrillo Perera will play Flower. Perera grew up in El Paso, Texas, where she performed in her school choir and drama department. After graduation, she traveled the country working as a fashion model and makeup artist. Perera moved to Pocahontas County in 2008 when her husband began working for the NRAO. She earned a degree in Criminal Justice, is currently working for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, and is a mother to three beautiful girls. \r\n\r\nThe role of Weed will be performed by Jared Bennett.\u00a0Bennett participated in theater while a high school student in Richwood.\u00a0He will also appear in Legacy, another of the seven Opera House PlayFest plays.\u00a0Bennett, who lives in Lewisburg, teaches seventh grade English at Marlinton Middle School.\r\n\r\nLaurie Cameron plays the role of Fate, a bird-like character of equal parts comedy and tragedy. \u00a0While at Penn State, Cameron was Mortimer in The Man Who Dies, the Emperor Tsin Shi Wang Ti in Chinese Wall, appeared in The Fantastiks, and, in summer stock at the Boal Barn Playhouse, now the Nittany Theatre. He played Chrichton in the Admirable C.\u00a0A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Cameron now resides in Hillsboro. \r\n\r\n<a href="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2016\/05\/PlayFest.web_1.jpg"><img src="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2016\/05\/PlayFest.web_1-300x225.jpg" alt="PlayFest.web" width="300" height="225" class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-12530" \/><\/a>\r\n\r\n<strong>'Tammy and Tom'<\/strong>\r\n\r\nAh, the complexities of modern dating!\u00a0 \r\n\r\nHow does a potential couple negotiate the maze of food sensitivities, lifestyle choices and movie preferences?\r\n\r\nPlaywright Jonathan Joy amuses with this question in his 10 minute comedy Tammy and Tom, to be performed as part of the Opera House PlayFest, presented by the Pocahontas County Drama Workshop.\r\n\r\nJoy is a professor of English\/Writing at Ashland Community and Technical College in Ashland, Kentucky, where he has been nominated for Teaching Excellence Awards six consecutive years. He has written more than 25 plays and a dozen one acts, and is the only two-time winner of the national award, \u201cWrite Like Mamet.\u201d \r\n\r\n\u201cI wrote Tammy and Tom as a response to a writing prompt I gave a couple years ago to my students in a playwriting class I teach,\u201d Joy explained. \u201cIt\u2019s a short funny play that was fun to write.\u00a0It\u2019s been performed once on our campus in Ashland, and got a good response, and was subsequently published in The Furious Gazelle online literary journal and in my \u2018More Short Plays and Monologues\u2019 collection.\u201d \r\n\r\nMarisol Carrillo Perera will play Tammy, a young woman who is anxious about asking Tom out on a date. Perera first performed in her El Paso, Texas, high school choir and drama department. After graduation, she expanded her performance skills by working as a fashion model and makeup artist. \r\n\r\n Perera and her husband moved to Pocahontas County in 2008 when he began working for the NRAO. She has a degree in Criminal Justice, works for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, and is the mother of three lovely girls. \r\n\r\nThe role of food-challenged, stimulus-avoiding Tom will be Justin Richmond-Decker\u2019s theater performance debut. Richmond- Decker has lived in West Virginia for a year and a half and, when not at his job as a software engineer at the observatory in Green Bank, enjoys playing guitar, hiking, camping, board\/card games and visiting new places.\r\n\r\n\r\n<a href="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2016\/05\/PlayFEst.web_.jpg"><img src="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2016\/05\/PlayFEst.web_-300x254.jpg" alt="PlayFEst.web" width="300" height="254" class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-12525" \/><\/a>\r\n\r\n<strong>\u2018About the Baby\u2019 \r\n<\/strong>\r\nWhat\u2019s a mother to do when her ne\u2019r-do-well son shows up with a baby she didn\u2019t know he had?\u00a0 \r\n\r\nThis question is answered by Mississippi playwright T. K. Lee in About the Baby, to be presented as part of the Pocahontas County Drama Workshop\u2019s Opera House PlayFest, May 20 and 21 at the Pocahontas County Opera House in Marlinton.\r\nJanet Ghigo plays Gertie, the anxious mother trying to deal with her wayward son.\u00a0Most of Ghigo\u2019s theatre experience has been literally behind the scenes. \u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cI did lights for three and a half years of my four years at Bryn Mawr College,\u201d Ghigo said. \u201cIn addition to three major productions per year, I designed lights for class shows, visiting performers, dance concerts and musical events.\u201d \u00a0\r\n\r\nGhigo and her husband, Frank, moved to Pocahontas County in 1988 and have been involved with the Drama Workshop doing sound and lights respectively since then. Ghigo appeared in front of the lights as Old Pearl in Between Two Worlds, the musical about the life of Pearl Buck performed in Hillsboro in 1992 on the 100th anniversary of Buck\u2019s birth.\u00a0She also appeared as Mom in the 2012 Drama Workshop production of A Nice Family Gathering.\r\n\r\nThe role of Reggie, Gertie\u2019s troubled son, will be performed by Chris Curry. Curry previously portrayed villain James Larrabee in the Drama Workshop\u2019s Sherlock Holmes, and appeared as an extra in the films The Dark Knight Rises and Angel\u2019s Perch. Curry will also appear as Dave in the play Pumps, another PlayFest production.\r\n\r\nThe play itself is set in Mississippi, where its playwright T. K. Lee was raised and still lives today.\u00a0 When asked about his playwriting, Lee explains, \u201cI know that I am considered by some to be firmly rooted in the tradition of Williams and Faulkner and Welty, et al. before me, and not simply by being from Mississippi, but also by being southern and a writer.\u00a0 And while I embrace my southerness, if you reach further down, to that root, you\u2019ll find that it is thick and runs a way across the country. In turns, About the Baby is as much the red hills of Mississippi as it is the coal mountains of West Virginia, or the breadbasket of the Midwest. Gertie and Reggie could live in any rural town; they could be anyone\u2019s neighbors.\u201d\r\n\r\nLee said that About the Baby began as a personal writing exercise and nothing more \u2013 at least, at first. \u201cI was fleshing out a storyline for Gertie and Reggie for a possible story for a collection I am slowly putting together.\u00a0 But after I finished this writing exercise and saw that I had written a ten-minute play, I rather liked it. It is in keeping with my usual style which is one of story reduction rather than plot reveal. I think it creates tension and engages an audience to participate in the story or the play.\u201d \r\n\r\nEric Fritzius, director of the PlayFest, says, \u201cAbout the Baby is a play I wanted to direct because it stuck with me for days after I first read it.\u00a0 And on each subsequent read, I\u2019d discover new layers to it that I\u2019d missed before.\u00a0 It\u2019s a play that takes its time and is unafraid of long pauses. These would normally be filled with conversation between the characters, and they do still find ways to converse.\u00a0But About the Baby is often more about what the characters are not saying to one another than what they are saying.\u00a0They should be having a conversation about a very specific topic, but both are hesitant to do so for their own reasons.\u00a0 Sometimes the audience can only guess at these, but things do become clearer.\u201d \u00a0\r\n\r\nFritzius says he also chose the play with the goal of bringing some of his home state of Mississippi to the stage of the Opera House.\u00a0He knew that Lee, with whom he has been friends for 25 years, would have the perfect play to do this. \u00a0\r\n\u201cHe\u2019s a very good writer,\u201d Fritzius said.\u00a0\u201cAnd he\u2019s spectacular at capturing the essence of the south, and small town life in particular, in very few words.\u00a0 I knew these people.\u00a0I recognized them as being of the same stock as my own family.\u00a0 They feel completely and effortlessly genuine and audiences will be able to see that in the performances of Janet and Chris.\u201d\r\n\r\n<a href="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2016\/05\/PlayFest.web_.jpg"><img src="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2016\/05\/PlayFest.web_-300x193.jpg" alt="PlayFest.web" width="300" height="193" class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-12526" \/><\/a>\r\n<strong>\r\n\u2018Playing Cards by Twilight\u2019s Shine\u2019 <\/strong>\r\n\r\nFor sixty years Old Man Hartsook has been the maker of the town\u2019s favorite illegal beverage in Eldridge, West Virginia.\u00a0 \r\n\r\nFormerly discrete in his dealings, he has now been arrested for setting up a moonshine stand in the Kroger parking lot.\u00a0 His attorney will have a tough job defending him.\u00a0 But he has the local sheriff and the town doctor to help him.\u00a0They, too, want to see the old man freed, but for their own reasons.\u00a0 \r\n\r\nCan they come to an agreement about his fate?\r\n\r\nPlaying Cards by Twilight\u2019s Shine will be presented as part of the Pocahontas County Drama Workshop\u2019s Opera House PlayFest, to be performed May 20 and 21 at the Opera House in Marlinton.\r\n \r\nPlayFest director and playwright Eric Fritzius explained his inspiration for the play:\r\n\r\n\u201cTo use moonshiner terminology, this play is a mash with a lot of different ingredients \u2013 too many to list here. A major one, though, is that I myself come from moonshiner stock. My papaw was\u00a0a moonshine runner in Mississippi during the early years of the 20th century.\u00a0He was out of the business for decades by the time I was born, so I never got to sample any moonshine myself before moving to West Virginia.\u00a0So the play is also inspired by one such memorable sampling \u2013 or, over-sampling, as it turned out \u2013 of a specific tasty variety of moonshine that I found both staggeringly good and incredibly dangerous.\u201d \u00a0\r\n\r\nFritzius said the story is also inspired by a very real problem for small town America. \u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s a story about a town fighting fire with fire \u2013 or, using one incredibly dangerous, though enjoyable, substance as protection from more destructive ones.\u201d\r\n\r\nWhile Fritzius will direct this play, he says he owes a debt of gratitude to Courtney Sussman, who first directed \u201cPlaying Cards\u2026\u201d in February for the Greenbrier Valley Theatre in Lewisburg. \u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cI\u2019m pretty much stealing her excellent direction, not to mention most of her cast,\u201d he said.\u00a0 \r\n\r\nFritzius is stepping in to perform the role of Howard Rainey, Old Man Hartsook\u2019s city-slicker-newly-arrived-in-town public defender.\r\n\r\nLarry Davis, of Lewisburg, is cast in the role of Doctor Robert \u201cDoc\u201d Adams.\u00a0 Davis has acted in \u00a0five dozen productions in Greenbrier County, the majority of which were with the Greenbrier Valley Theatre.\u00a0Others included every Riders of the Flood outdoor drama season in Ronceverte, four plays by Courtney Smith, and portrayals of historic characters at North House Museum in Lewisburg.\u00a0 He has performed previously in the Pocahontas County Opera House with the Greenbrier Valley Chorale.\r\n\r\nThe role of Sheriff Terry Lane will be played by Chally Erb.\u00a0 Performance artist Erb came to Pocahontas County with the back-to-the-land movement in the 1970s.\u00a0 A dancer, clown and actor, he has performed for more than 30 years with the Trillium Performing Arts Collective in Lewisburg.\u00a0 His contributions to Trillium were recently honored with Chally\u2019s Follies, a collection of movement pieces that included the debut of his latest work, a duet with his wife and fellow artist, Beth White. \u00a0\u00a0\r\n\r\n<a href="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2016\/05\/ENT.PlayFest.jpg"><img src="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2016\/05\/ENT.PlayFest-293x300.jpg" alt="ENT.PlayFest" width="293" height="300" class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-12531" \/><\/a>\r\n\r\n<strong>'...to a flame'<\/strong>\r\n\r\nWhat would you do if you accidentally killed the Mothman?\r\n\r\nPlaywright\/actor\/director Eric Fritzius weaves a comedic tale of friendship, foibles and fate in his short play ...to a Flame, to be presented May 20 and 21 as part of the Pocahontas County Drama Workshop\u2019s Opera House PlayFest.\r\n\r\nWhen asked about the origin and history of the play, Fritzius explains, \u201c...to a Flame began as a short story in a writing workshop taught by [West Virginia] author Belinda Anderson.\u00a0 he gave us a Halloween horror writing prompt to take inspiration from, which was: You find a dead body. The dead body that occurred to me belonged to the legendary Mothman, a creature that reportedly plagued Mason County, some decades back.\u00a0Those familiar with the legend know that seeing a live Mothman is almost never a good thing.\u00a0I figured seeing a dead one couldn\u2019t be much better, and shooting one by accident would be even worse.\u00a0Instead of a horror story, I wrote a humorous one about a guy who does just that. I later adapted it for the stage.\u00a0It\u2019s been produced several times around the state and will be one of three of my plays to be produced for the upcoming West Virginia Playwrights Festival in Clarksburg. The original short story appears in my book A Consternation of Monsters.\u201d\r\n\r\nDwayne Kennison\u2019s portrayal of Virgil Hawks in ...to a Flame will be his sixth performance with the Pocahontas County Drama Workshop since his debut in 2009 in The Comet of St Lomis.\u00a0 He also performs live character poetry as \u201cUncle Edward Wabbit\u201d and was an actor in the film \u201cAngel\u2019s Perch.\u201d \u00a0He is a published writer, songwriter and musician. He currently plays drums and sings with the rock bands COLD ETHYL, and LIGHTNING ROSE and is a Saturday DJ on Allegheny Mountain Radio. Born in Maryland, Dwayne now lives in Pocahontas County with his wife and two adult children.\r\n\r\nJohn C Davis brings extensive theatre experience to the role of Jeff.\u00a0 While in college Davis performed in Dear Delinquent, Matchmaker, Girls in 509 and Separate Tables.\u00a0 He participated in Maryland Community Theatre including directing Blythe Spirit and Goodbye Charlie.\u00a0 He has appeared in eight previous Pocahontas County Drama Workshop productions, most recently in Proof.\u00a0 Davis says, \u201cOne of the things I love most about doing theatre is the co-operation that exists in order to give an entertaining product to an audience \u2013 and that moment, when, as an actor, you somehow `know\u2019 that the audience is \u2018with\u2019 you and not just \u2018observing\u2019 you.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe Opera House PlayFest will include six other short plays, spanning comedy, drama and points in between.\u00a0 The festival will be performed May 20 and 21 beginning at 8 p.m. each evening at the Pocahontas County Opera House in Marlinton.\u00a0\r\n\r\nParents should be aware that some of the plays contain adult themes that may not be suitable for young children.\r\n\r\nThe Pocahontas County Drama Workshop is community theater supported by Dramas Fairs and Festivals, Parks and Recreation and the Board of Education. Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door.\u00a0For more information, visit the Opera House website at pocahontasoperahouse.org or call 304-799-6645.