MAPLEWOOD, NJ — In line with its mission of providing writers the opportunity to present new work, in February the Theater Project is showcasing playwrights from near and far in two annual short play festivals: “Think Fast” is a competition for writers new to The Theater Project and “Kaleidoscope Kabaret” is a showcase for members of the company. Both festivals take place at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Road in Maplewood.
Author Tylie Shider has participated in both events. He was the winner of the 2014 “Think Fast” competition, and subsequently joined the Theater Project’s Playwrights Workshop, which presented his work in the “Kaleidoscope Kabaret.” Formerly a teacher in Plainfield, he is now pursuing a graduate degree in playwriting at New York University. Theater Project member playwrights Luigi Jannuzzi and Joseph Vitale, who have had work produced in New York and around the country, will debut short plays in this year’s “Kabaret.”
In the fourth annual “Think Fast” competition, which runs Feb. 10 through 12, nine short plays will compete for a $500 first prize awarded by a panel of judges made up of Theater Project’s member playwrights. The contest, open to playwrights in the Tri-State Area, also invites audience members to vote for their favorite short play. Ballots are tallied and winners announced at an open reception following the Sunday afternoon performance.
New work is also on display in “Kaleidoscope Kabaret,” an annual presentation of short plays written by members of Theater Project’s Playwrights Workshop. The group meets privately once a month so members can share work in progress and get feedback from their colleagues. This year’s event also includes one script by teen authors — the first-prize winners of last year’s annual Young Playwrights Competition.
Tickets for both events are charged and group rates are available. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at www.thetheaterproject.org; reservations are recommended. “Think Fast” runs from Friday, Feb. 10, through Sunday, Feb. 12, with 8 p.m. showings on Friday and Saturday, and a 2 p.m. showing on Sunday. “Kaleidoscope Kabaret” runs from Friday, Feb. 24, through Sunday, Feb. 26, with 8 p.m. showings on Friday and Saturday, and a 2 p.m. showing on Sunday. For more information, call 908-809-8865.