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Irvington Theater Debuts Hybrid Format for 3rd Annual Short Play Fest

This month, the Irvington Theater will present its third annual Arts Incubator Short Play Fest, a collection of short, in-development plays. For the first time, the event will be presented in a hybrid format, offering the best of both worlds – online events and in-person readings.

“We are very excited to host the Fest, which we started three years ago before the pandemic,” says Theater Manager Gregory G. Allen, who adds that he invited several playwrights to do live readings in an intimate setting – and the audience loved it.

The Fest will feature script-in-hand readings from four selections, including a musical on March 25 at Mercy College. The Theater will also stream three plays the week of March 18-26. The plays are free to watch, on-demand, at the theater’s website and YouTube channel.

“We realized we could grow the concept into an arts incubator to bring artists together and work on their art in front of a live group,” Allen says. “It’s really important for playwrights to hear their words come off a page – especially in front of a live audience. Sometimes in a reading session, it is the first time they actually hear it. They also appreciate receiving feedback from the audience.”

Due to the pandemic, the Fest was first hosted on YouTube, which enabled the Theater to work with artists from all over the country. Allen says that the YouTube program was highly successful, and the artists received valuable feedback.

This is the first time the readings will be performed in person, with a variety of actors, performers, directors, and musicians taking the stage. Says Allen: “[The artists] are various ages, genders and experience levels. There is such a breadth of experience with this group.”

The Fest is curated from a selection of open submissions and is chosen by a committee. This year, 50 artists applied, and seven were selected. The plays being shown include:

Virtual — YouTube: March 18-26

The Cruise by Anna Esaki-Smith. Sunny, an elderly Japanese woman in hospice, and her daughter Gina discuss old family recipes and what it means to die.

This, Madame, is Versailles by Aidan La Poche. A real estate agent tours the most expensive single-family property in the U.S. while navigating (and stumbling over) her deepest desires.

Star Quality by Evelyn Mertens. Two people, who barely knew each other 13 years ago now find themselves, on a rainy night inside an old diner, on the cusp of discovering an unlikely connection.

Live – Mercy College: March 25

Exit Interview by Phoebe Farber. One man unravels in front of his boss, and contemplates the consequences of his actions as he departs from a corporate job.

Still Life by Brian Leahy Doyle. An up-and-coming painter in New York faces an ultimatum from his agent while coping with the tragic loss of his girlfriend.

Freestyle Hand Entry by Elise Wien. Cy recounts attempts to get a bag of Bugles stuck in the vending machine of the recreation room.

The Story of a Daughter by Zoe Howard and Matthew Nassida. A modern folk adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Story of a Mother – with a change of perspective.



Katherine Doherty is a writer, graphic designer and travel enthusiast from White Plains, NY. A former magazine editor, she currently manages corporate communications for a global logistics company. She holds a BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology where she majored in fine arts.