Riant Theatre's Strawberry One-Act Festival Opens 8/9

The Riant Theatre's 28th Season of the Strawberry One-Act Festival will kick-off with nine eclectic plays covering a gamut of themes ranging from American slavery, Nazi Germany and Muslim women to friendly ghosts, dead artists and an interracial lesbian couple on Wednesday, August 5 at the Tato Laviera Theatre, 240 East 123rd Street, between Second and Third Avenues. These plays will also be performed on August 9. The tickets for the Strawberry One-Act Festival, from August 5 - 23 at the Tato Laviera, are $25.00 - $35.00

"I've chosen these fascinating, thought provoking plays to launch our current season, because they hold a mirror to society. As much as we sometimes hate to admit it we all have skeletons, ugly truths that haunt us and remind us of who we are. These 9 plays humanize us through laughter and pain, and make us pause and reflect on who we are, where we've been as a society and hopefully encourage us to start a conversation that will help us learn from our past," said Van Dirk Fisher, founder and artistic director of the Riant Theatre, a multicultural and inclusive institution, and the Strawberry One Act Festival. These plays will be performed on two different nights so audiences will have an extra opportunity to see the shows.

SERIES A: August 5 at 7:00pm and August 9 at 9:00pm

"Another Dead Artist" written and directed by Anthony Marinelli

Featuring: Rick Schneider, Amanda Greer and Lucy Dolly Caires
A famous artist threatens to kill himself when his longtime protégée/muse reveals she is leaving him for another woman. The play deals with the nature of beauty and how it affects people as well as the fears and insecurities that all artists face.

"Casper the Not So Friendly Ghost" written by Domenic Servidlo and directed by Christopher Ferrer

Featuring: Chasity Hart, Christopher Michaels, Krystel Mills and Aflie Ramirez

This comedy is about a misunderstood spirit that's haunting a home recently purchased by a newlywed couple. The spirit, who just wants to hang out and watch TV, doesn't understand why his roommates want to kick him out.

"The Prophet" written by Lewis Payton Jr. and directed

by Laurence Schwartz

Featuring: Issac Dean and Harrison Lubel

In 1831South Hampton, Virginia, Nat Turner, America's most famous insurrectionists, killed over 60 white citizens in a rebellion against slavery. In his death cell, he meets with a white lawyer named Thomas R. Gray, who has been sent to document his confession.

"Haram" written by Regine Mont-Louis and directed by

Christopher James Welhert

Featuring: Asra Arif, Becca Beberaggi, Alan Ceppos and Joe Laureiro

Inspired by true events, Aminah, a young Muslim Iranian woman exchange student, returns home to Iran from an exciting period abroad in London. At home, she is confronted by tragedies including an ill mother and a father with business troubles. She finds herself in an uncontrollable situation with fatal results.

SERIES B: August 5 at 9:00pm and August 9 at 7:00pm

"The Crossroad" written by Julia Genoveva and directed by Gus Ferrari

Featuring: Gus Ferrari, Julia Genoveva and Lynn Manuell

Andrea is sick of her life, she feels empty and lost. Then she meets a mysterious stranger who puts her face to face with the past, present and future.

"The Old Gang" written and directed by Kyle Giller

Featuring: Mazin Akar, Kyle Giller, Kai Lovelace and Devra Seidel

A group of old friends revel in their worst traits while holding their ideals of the hipster culture.

"Forgive Me, Brother" written by Barry Slater and

directed by Dennis Gleason

Featuring: James Lentini and Zach Tuckness

A small time gambler dying of cancer asked his alienated brother, a priest, to help him die. The priest thinks it means Last Rites. The gambler has other ideas.

"Adele in Berlin" written by Lydia Nightingale and directed

by Cameron McIntosh

Featuring: David Bowen, Joshua Popa, April Leonhard, Tana Sirols and

Gonzalo Vargas

When offered the chance to escape from a city turned deadly in 1946, Berlin resident Adele eagerly takes it-but a shadow from her past threatens her future.

Veal Cutlet and Pinot Noir" written and directed by Emma Marks

Featuring: Leila Cohen and ReSheda Terry

Sara and Michelle are an interracial l esbian couple living in New York City fighting to save their relationship. As Sara's professional star rises, Michelle is pushed further away from Sara. They must compromise or will lose everything.

Strawberry One-Act Festival's acting alum include Eric LaSalle ("ER"), Ving Rhames ("Mission Impossible") and Jessie Eisenberg ("The Social Network").

On July 26, Obie winning director Liesl Tommy was honored with the Riant Theatre Pioneer of the Arts Award. She will be directing Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o in the Public Theatre's production of "Eclipsed," organized by 2014 Riant Theatre Pioneer Award winners producers Stephen Byrd and Alia Jones.

"The play is set in 2003 near the end of the Civil War in Liberia, where a group of women are held captive by rebels who are fighting the government," explained Fisher. "It is profound and I'm sure will resonate with woman all over the world."

This year, the festival i s also presenting five full-length plays. Fisher has produced over 1,500 one act plays at theStrawberry One-Act Festival, which was e stablished in 1995. There are seven published anthologies of The Best Plays from the Strawberry One-Act Festival. The winners of the Strawberry One-Act Festival Awards will be announced at a special ceremony on Monday, August 24 at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street. The Riant Theatre's Awards Ceremony & Performance for the Strawberry One-Act Festival will feature performances from the four best plays from the festival and present awards for Best Play, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Short Film.

Tickets are $25.00 - $35.00. For more information on the Strawberry One-Act Festival's 28th Season, please check out the website at www.therianttheatre.com or call 646-623- 3488.

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