For the Cumberland Times-News
CUMBERLAND — Front & Centre Stage will once again offer its Lunatic Fringe one-act play series during the Friday After Five events this summer.
The performances will be held in the Allegany Arts Council’s Community Room at 9 N. Centre St. and admission will be free to the public.
“We started the Lunatic Fringe a few years ago, we weren’t sure how it would be received,” said Meghan Crosslan, a Front & Center board bember. “But one-act plays proved to be successful and our audience has grown each year. The shows are about 20 minutes long — just long enough to relax, escape the heat and have a few laughs without taking up your entire evening.”
This year’s play selections will showcase the works of author Shel Silverstein. Silverstein was an American poet, singer-songwriter, musician, composer, cartoonist, screenwriter and author of children’s books including “A Light on in the Attic,” “The Giving Tree” and “Where the Sidewalk Ends.”
He styled himself as “Uncle Shelby” in his children’s books, which have been translated into 20 languages and sold more than 20 million copies. This summer’s one-acts will take audiences through the darkly comic adult world of Silverstein, a world where nothing is as it seems and where the most innocent conversation can turn menacing in an instant.
The first offering, “The Life Boat is Sinking,” revolves around Jen and Sherwin, who sit safely on their bed, but Jen forces her husband to imagine they are on a sinking boat in the middle of a terrible storm. Waves fill the boat with water, there are no life jackets, and Sherwin must decide whether he should throw his mother overboard or condemn them all to die. Performance dates are July 15 and 29.
“Wash ’n’ Dry,” the second in the series, unleashes the nightmare of business versus customer and how the small print can be either benign or horrific. Marianne stops by the laundromat, but she’s horrified to discover that her laundry hasn’t been cleaned. George counters he never agreed to wash it. “George’s Watch and Dry,” he says. “You gotta pay attention.” Performances will take place on Aug. 5 and 19.
Concluding the series will be “One Tennis Shoe,” in which a man claims his wife is becoming a bag lady, but she protests that her Bloomingdales’ shopping bag doesn’t make her a bag lady. No, says Harvey, but the picture frame, couch cushion and single tennis shoe retrieved from the garbage do. Not to mention the cold cooked oatmeal in her purse. Performances are slated for Sept. 5 and 19.
The shows are performed twice nightly. Shows begin at both 7 and 7:30 p.m. and feature local actors from the community.
For more information, visit the events calendar at www.alleganyartscouncil.org or call 301-268-3724. The shows feature mature content and may not be appropriate for all audiences. Parental discretion is advised.