Showcase gives fresh directors chance in spotlight

Photo by Brian Giandelone

Photo by Brian Giandelone

It's John Bates' first time sitting in the director's chair -- the 21-year-old Loganville resident has appeared on stage in shows with New London Theatre, but this time he's calling the shots from the wings.

The play he is directing -- "Sherlock Holmes: A Case of Identity" -- is one Bates adapted himself for New London's One Act/New Directors Showcase, an annual presentation of short plays helmed by first-time directors.

"The purpose is for us to provide a platform for directors who are new to our stage, not necessarily new in general, but have never done anything at New London Theatre in a space like this, that sort of thing, to come out and test their chops, so to speak," said John Berlo, a NLT board member and a participating director.

While the showcase offers individuals a chance to try their hands at directing, it also serves another purpose.

"The other piece is to allow (an opportunity) for people who don't have necessarily the time to spend, to dedicate to a full-length production, but they still want to be on stage," Berlo said. "So by doing a production that's anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes, (it's) less memorizing, less commitment but still gives them ability to jump out on stage."

The new directors showcase is something the community theater organization has produced since its inception.

"New London Theatre was started by a high school drama teacher, so one of his things was to try and give students and adults alike the ability to go out and test what they have seen, what they have learned," Berlo said.

This year's showcase will feature Bates' play in which audiences will catch a glimpse inside the mind of the famous detective as he coaches his sidekick Dr. Holmes on solving mysteries through observation and logic.

Berlo is directing a stage adaptation of the short story "The Lottery," in which a farming community remains steeped in traditions, even ones they don't understand.

Three other one-act plays -- "The Final Bow" directed by Chris Heraghty and Emily Arvidson, "The Game," helmed by Sean Anderson and "You Don't Bring Me Flowers Anymore" directed by Bekah Ragsdale -- will be presented along with Bates' and Berlo's at 8 p.m. today and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8.

For more information on NLT and its annual showcase of one act plays helmed by new directors, call 770-559-1484 or visit www.newlondontheatre.org.