NEWBURYPORT — Local residents will have three chances to catch an evening of 10 new plays from some of the brightest minds in Greater Newburyport’s theater scene this weekend at the Actors Studio.
“Collaboration 5” is a set of 10 one-act plays, each of which are written, directed and performed by members of the Weekend Writers Workshop, a Newburyport-based coalition of playwrights, directors and actors that meets monthly to discuss each other’s work.
There will be performances Friday and Saturday, June 14 and 15, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, June 16 at 5 p.m. at the Actors Studio of Newburyport in the Tannery Marketplace. All proceeds will benefit the studio.
Leading the Weekend Writers Workshop is local playwright Jack Rushton, who said he feels that each installment of the Weekend Writers Workshop’s “Collaboration” series is stronger than the one before it.
As the event’s name suggests, it marks the coalition’s fifth cooperative production. This year, Rushton said, the production puts forth a new and diverse set of genres and emotions.
“Every year different themes emerge, and this time there’s loss and isolation, the search for love, and people misunderstanding each other,” said Rushton. “It’s kind of magical in that as the program wears on, all this stuff starts to connect.”
Among the plays lined up for this weekend is “Mistranslations,” which was written and directed by Rushton, and tells the story of a couple that seeks help from technology to solve their relatable communication issues.
This past weekend, “Miscommunications” swept the awards table at the Playwrights’ Platform’s 47th Festival of New Plays in Boston. In addition to winning in the Best Play category, both of its actors, Kathy Isbell and Terry Blanchard, were named the festival’s Best Actress and Best Actor, respectively.
Other titles in the “Collaboration 5” lineup include “Speed Dating with Death” by Robert McKenzie, “Bottleneck” by Camille Garro, “Mr. Lonely” by Nick Hennessy and “Giftivus for None of Us” by Jesse Kalfel, among others.
Rushton said he is pleased to see such growth in the Weekend Writers Workshop’s work, and touted the talents of its members.
“The work is evolving and so is the show. it’s strong theater,” said Rushton. “We’re blessed in Newburyport to have very strong playwrights, directors and actors. This is a very accomplished group.”
Weekend Writers Workshop playwrights have had their works produced at more than 75 festivals around the world.
Together, Rushton said, the group’s cooperative workshopping approach helps create refined pieces of work that are finished with the help of many different fingerprints.
“We are all colleagues and friends, and we’re partners in each other’s work — when I wrote ‘Mistranslations,’ everyone had something to say about it,” said Rushton.
“The entire workshop had input into all the plays that will be at the show,” he added. “It was a collective effort, and we’re all invested in each other’s work. I think that’s a great dynamic.”
Tickets are $20 per person or $18 for students and seniors.
For tickets or more information, visit https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4203305
Staff writer Jack Shea covers Newburyport City Hall. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3154. Follow him on Twitter @iamjackshea.