Housewarming Theatre Festival's Production Stage Manager Aria Velz in the control booth; courtesy of ​​4615 Theatre Company

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​​4615 Theatre Company’s Housewarming Theatre Festival

“We want the audience to experience being welcomed back to live theater,” says producing stage manager Aria Velz, when describing 4615 Theatre Company’s Housewarming Theatre Festival, which takes over Bethesda’s Writer’s Center for two weekends this month (Dec. 4-5 and 11-12). In its multi-room format—the fest will take place in the Center’s Black Box theater, a conference room dubbed “the Annex,” and a marketplace for vendors and live music—the Housewarming Festival echoes 4615’s origins in the house where artistic director Jordan Friend grew up and where, while on break from school, he produced a site-specific processional show that roamed from room to room in 2013. Designer Jennifer Hiyama says the plays are “quite different from one another.” Tasked with creating a scenic design for the entire festival, Hiyama sees her role as creating “the opportunity for the variety of directors to have freedom. I am a firm believer in playing in the space and making discoveries!” The festival includes Caridad Svich’s Blue (directed by Friend), in which a marathon swimmer’s stream-of-consciousness monologue assesses a recent health scare, age, and a lifetime of unconventional choices, which provoke as much anxiety as a jellyfish’s venomous tentacles; Amanda Zeitler’s Neverlanding, a retelling of Peter Pan from the perspective of a discharged Air Force pilot who’s traumatized by his sister Wendy’s mental illness and the loss of his wingman and lover during a tour of Afghanistan; and Patrick Flynn’s No, But, in which an improv comedy troupe implodes during a gig at a corporate retreat. Theatrical parlor games, devised by Charlotte La Nasa, will move between the two performance spaces. A digital segment of the festival will feature a streaming presentation of Saviana Stanescu’s Alien With Extraordinary Skills, and Gregory Keng Strasser and Sara Eskandari’s solar-punk noir video game Dark City, which 4615 presented earlier this year during their all-digital season. 4615 Theatre Company‘s Housewarming Theatre Festival final weekend is Dec. 11-12 at the Writer’s Center, 4508 Walsh St., Bethesda. $20. Masks, vaccinations required.