Livin’ la vida MoCo is trying for those of us who love to see original plays by diverse, up-and-coming local playwrights. Or diverse anything, for that matter. Trust me. I grew up in Montgomery County; there isn’t a hell of a lot to do there after dark.

But for more than 20 years, Silver Spring Stage’s One-Act Festival has been presenting victims of Rockville Pike passive aggression with new works, community-theater-style. You can stop having the Waiting for Guffman flashbacks now: Silver Spring Stage is not your average community theater. The members of the all-volunteer theater company do it all while juggling full-time jobs, but they are committed to taking risks with the new work.

“In the spirit of what community theater is all about, we’re an open theater,” says the theater’s PR guy, Michael Kharfen. “We’re very diverse; we believe in nontraditional casting. We have everyone from actors who have never been onstage before to professional actors and directors.”

The company’s credentials back his words. Among the directors whose comedies will be presented the weekend of August 27-29 are Master of Fine Arts and Russian linguist Stephanie Mumford, who directs festival producer (and her husband) Jack Sbarbori’s translation of Anton Chekhov’s A Little Trick, and Bachelor of Fine Arts John Sciarretto, who directs Lone Star by James McLure. What Sciarretto didn’t learn about visual storytelling in school he learned from comic books: He owns Adventure Comics on Rockville Pike.

Among the featured playwrights are Cuban-American writer Gus Martinez, whose domestic comedy Ham and Eggs was a 1993 finalist in the prestigious Actors’ Theater of Louisville’s 10-minute play competition. It’s hard to tell what the Miami transplant is looking forward to more: his D.C.-area debut as a playwright on Sept. 2 or his MoCo debut as a high school English teacher on Sept. 1. Martinez, a beneficiary of Silver Spring Stage’s open-arms policy, is grateful for the opportunity: “There needs to be a platform for new playwrights. So many theaters are afraid to take a chance by bringing in new blood. More theaters need to take that chance.”—Amanda Fazzone

For details on the One-Act Festival’s schedule, call the box office at (301) 593-6036.

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