By Angelica Acevedo
Ten stories about Flushing Meadows Corona Park will come to life at the Queens Theater from July 28 to Aug. 6 during the Park Plays festival.
The plays that will be presented celebrate the events, surroundings and inhabitants of what many people regard as Queens’ most iconic parks.
“There is no better place to people-watch,” said Taryn Sacramone, the executive director of the Queens Theater. “The diversity of the communities who have integrated this park into their lives, who celebrate birthdays, play soccer games, practice yoga, restore life to the New York State Pavilion Towers, and much, much, more, is really extraordinary.”
Sacramone explained how the idea for Park Plays came about.
“If we put this park — in all of its richness, its place in history and its place in New York City today — in the hands of great playwrights, what stories would they tell?” Sacramone said. “That is how Park Plays started. In some ways, it’s a follow-up to our successful World’s Fair Play Festival in 2014, and in other ways the beginning of a larger project which we’ll look forward to sharing with our community soon.”
The 10 short plays will be performed by an ensemble of 11 actors in the intimate Studio Theater in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Six of the plays were commissioned, while four others were chosen from open submissions, according to Brant Russell, the festival director.
“We chose playwrights who either have a connection with Flushing Meadows Corona Park, or whose work captures the spirit of inclusivity and diversity that the park represents,” Russell said. “These writers are at the absolute top of their game. They have produced around the world. The plays we chose from submissions come from all corners of the globe as well — one is from New Zealand — and they are true representations of the people and events that populate the park.”
Audiences may enjoy a total of 10 performances of a diverse set of stories during the 10-day festival.
Among the productions staged will be: “G.O.A.T.,” by Ngozi Anyanwu, which is about three women who bring tailgating to a new level in order to help their favorite athlete win the ultimate prize; “Care,” by Jess Barbagallo, about the romance of friendship; “The Tennis Climb,” by Frank Paiva, about a mother and daughter coming together due to a potential alien invasion; and “Race Day,” by Don Nguyen, about three sisters who discover their own path to victory at the annual Dragon Boat Festival.
Other plays include “What Once We Were,” by Lauren Yee; “Afternoon,” by Jenny Lyn Bader; “Ruthie at the Fair,” by MJ Kaufman; “Amazons of Tomorrow,” by Rex McGregor; “Time Away,” by Richard Hinojosa and “Ballgirl,” by Gracie Gardner. They will be directed by Evan Cummings, Candis Jones, Nico Grelli, Emma Miller and Marilee Talkington.
The plays will be performed Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m. as well as an additional performance Thursday, Aug. 3, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at $18, and $15 for students and seniors, in the Queens Theater Box Office and its website at www.queenstheatre.org.