Fusion returns to the live stage with festival - Albuquerque Journal

Fusion returns to the live stage with festival

“The Seven” is like ordering a flight of drinks at a brewery.

“One might not be to your taste, but you might get a bite of something else,” Fusion executive director Dennis Gromelski said.

Fusion will perform Mildred Inez Lewis’ play “We Jump Broom.”

The theater’s annual short works festival also marks the return of Fusion to the live stage after a 27-month Covid-driven shutdown. The seven plays will be staged June 16-20 at 708 First St. NW. This year’s playwrights were given no overall theme. The plays could span no more than 10 pages.

“Some people did deal with Covid, but I think some were anxious to get away from Covid,” Gromelski said.

Although the playwrights receive no prize money, actors stage their work and they are allowed to submit additional plays.

This year’s jury received 707 submissions from 45 states and 10 countries.

“The quality of writing is really incredible,” Gromelski said.

Inglewood, California-based playwright Mildred Inez Lewis won the Bradford Gromelski Jury Award with “We Jump Broom.” The late Bradford Gromelski, also a playwright and an emeritus professor of theater at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, was Dennis Gromelski’s father.

Lewis “has a piece set between two Black slaves, women, in the 1860s Alabama who happen to be in love with each other,” Gromelski said. “She’s not a rookie; she’s an established theatrical artist.”

Lewis is a finalist for the Wake Forest University/North Carolina Black Repertory Company’s Finding Holy Ground commissions. Her short piece “Suitcases” is being produced by Ensemble Studio Theatre, Los Angeles. Her full length comedy “The Women’s Annex” will premiere at Central Works in Berkeley, California this fall.

Santa Fe playwright/novelist E.A. Gray brought “Timepiece” to the festival.

“Her piece is about an older couple; about the aging process and time,” Gromelski said.

The comedy “A Tale of an Unexpected Gathering and Romance Made Absurd in the Telling” was written by Los Angeles-based Rob Dames. “It’s a wacky piece,” Gromelski said. “It’s kind of ‘Waiting for Godot’ meets Carol Burnett.”

Boston-based M.J. Cox’s “Two Centuries Without Theatre” is set during the Revolutionary War, describing the impact of theater during precarious times.

West Hollywood-based Rom Watson’s “A Twin Out of Time” asks what if you had the opportunity to spend one more year with your deceased spouse?

Tori King Rice of Lakeside, California penned “Box of Teeth.”

“It’s about a young shop clerk who’s on the spectrum who assists a woman in dealing with the grief of losing her daughter,” Gromelski said.

Denver-based Jeffrey Neuman’s “Stealing Sleep” is Covid-related, Gromelski said.

“It talks about how everybody’s sleep patterns have completely changed. Is it possible to steal the sleep of your spouse?”

“The Seven” features the work of directors Dodie Montgomery, Laurie Thomas, Jacqueline Reid, Aaron Worley, Robb Sisneros and festival curator Jen Grigg. The acting company includes Kate Costello, Grey Blanco, Danielle Robertson, Breana Connor, Zane Barker, Evening Star Barron, Matt Heath, Jen Grigg, Wendy Scott, David Sinkus, Doug Stewart, Nancy Jeris, Paul Blott, Laurie Thomas, William Sterchi and Kyo Torres-Chen.

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