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8 Tens 2024 Brings Verve and Variety!

The 8 Tens @ 8 Short Play Festival opened this past weekend, with 16 winning plays presented eight at a time on two separate evenings, playing in repertory through February 18. If you want to be completely surprised, stop reading now and just come to the show! If you'd like to know a little more about the plays in each part, read on...

[Production photos by Natasha Loudermilk]

Part 1 opened on Friday, Jan 19th

A young man listening to an older man
Joe (Owen Morgan) gets a dose of reality from Al (Steve Capasso) in "Stop Saying That"

Part 1 begins in a sunny coffee shop, where a young barista (Owen Morgan) gets a big, sometimes funny, and somewhat dark life lesson from his elderly regulars in "Stop Saying That" by Massachusetts playwright George Smart. Hannah Eckstein directs the biggest cast of the night, which features many Santa Cruz veteran actors and a few newcomers (Steven Capasso, Marigold Fine, Lee Ann Gray, Meg Herz Harlor, Mary Ann LoBalbo and Patrick W. True). The audience then travels to an urban bunker in an unnamed place and time where two soldiers (Ward Willats and Zoe Willats) discuss old fables and yearn for snacks. "Debunked" was written by Mick Hilgers, a playwright based in New Jersey, and is directed by Davis Banta.

two men up on a roof with one holding an umbrella
Brad Roades and David Leach in "Geronimo!"

In "Sense of Direction" by Seth Freeman, an Emmy-award-winning writer based in southern California, Mitch (Scott Kravitz) brings home a date with a unique voice (Shannon Marie McDonough) who helps him find his way, guided by Sarah Albertson's theatrical direction. The last play in Act 1, takes us up on a roof with F. J. Hartland's "Geronimo!" directed by Johathan Carter Schall, in which daring big brother Cal (Brad Roades) and gullible younger brother Buddy (David Leach) build a connection that stands the test of time...and gravity.

a DJ in a radio station studio
Scott Kravitz plays a DJ broadcasting through chaos in "Signing Off"

"The Visit" by Dan Borengasser, who had a play in last year's festval as well, opens Part 1, Act 2, with a touching and dreamy encounter between a husband and wife (David Leach and Susy Parker), directed by Peter Gelblum. It is followed by the dramatic and startling "Signing Off" where DJ Rocky J (Scott Kravitz) and The Kid (Rose Culligan) connect with each other over the airwaves amid the chaos of WWIII. "Signing Off" was written by local playwright Gail Thornton Borkowski and is directed by Marcus Cato.

Two young people holding each other in front of a clock showing the months of the year passing
Owen Morgan and Sophia Alexander-Sidhom as Sean and Annie in "Someday After RU-486"

Bill Peters directs the sweetly mvoing third play in Act 2, which finds young couple Annie (Sophia Alexander-Sidhom) and Sean (Owen Morgan) contemplating what life together will be like "Someday After RU-486," written by Boston playwright Amanda O'Donnell. Part 1 concludes with Bruce Bonafede's play "Waitering for Godot." which offers a fresh twist on an old favorite, with Ward Willats as the elusive title character, Shannon Marie McDonough as his frustrated waiter, and Aaron Artiaga as the boy. Directed by Gerry Gerringer, it provides a satisfying theatrical allusion on which to end the evening.

Part 2 opened on Saturday, Jan 20th

a man looking at a painting
Jonathan Carter Schall contemplates the future of art in "The Artist"

Part 2 keeps the variety and energy going, opening with "The Stocking Exchange," written by Lynnmarie May and directed by Sally Bookman, in which department store clerk Carol (Linda S. Gunther) has to deal with an unusual request from eccentric customer Nick (Martin Sampad Kachuck). Next, Evan Hunt directs James Ingagiola's play "The Artist" that has the audience contemplating the intersection of art and technology, with Jonathan Carter Schall as Blake the artist, Kevin Karplus as Harper the inventor, and Camila Snyder-Alaniz as android X-45.

two actors in wolf costumes talking to each other
Lyndsey Marks counsels Matthew Chipman in "The Hill"

In "Two Mothers," by So-Cal playwright Abby Dunbar, we find out if two very different women meeting in a fertility clinic can change each other's views. It features Manirose Bobisuthi and Sarah Mitchler under the direction of Suzanne Sturn. Act 1 of Part 2 concludes with a howl in "The Hill" by Robb Willoughby, when a furry family (Lyndsey Marks, Andy Waddell and Matthew Chipman, directed by Kathryn Adkins) debate diet, den maintenance and when the kids should move out.

a U.S. army soldier with his hand on his chest
John Denham Bennett plays a soldier "On the Road to Tikrit"

John Denham Bennett opens Part 2, Act 2, as a soldier who just wants to get back to his unit in "On the Road to Tikrit" by playwright Rosemary Parrillo, directed by Steven Capasso. Alyssa Ahle's play "Not Knowing" explores a unique dating challenge as Hugo (Chris Arcarese) tries to pick up the reluctant Ronnie (Camila Snyder-Alaniz) at a Valentine's Day party. Cathy Warner directs, with Baylee Hult and Tristan Ahn in supporting roles. The art of making theater itself is explored with intrigue and humor in "Talking with Myself" by Sam Weller, featuring Isaac Ludington and Andy Wadell as Sam Weller (it will make sense when you see it!) directed by Helene Simkin Jara. Part 2 concludes with NYC playwright Bram Hartman's "Come On, Ref!" directed by Jim Schultz, in which enthusiastic soccer dad Chet (Jonathan Carter Schall) and reluctant soccer dad Keith (Ian Dyer) contemplate life, beer, lost love and how to get into the ref's head.

Tickets for 8 Tens @ 8 are available now. Shows do sell out, so secure your seats today! Thursday evenings are two-for-one, and you can get a discount on a package deal for both Part 1 and Part 2.

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