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BCT gets back in the one-act for annual festival

For 94 seasons, Bakersfield Community Theatre has amused, moved and entertained local audiences. 

A hallmark of the community theater's offerings has been the annual One-Act Festival, which returns to the South Chester Avenue venue on Friday.

The show features the original works of local writers or those with local ties.

Deva Wiloth, who is organizing this year's festival, said she was very impressed by the submissions from local writers.

She wrote in an email, "... I chose the ones that I think were the best written and easiest to put onstage. I'm really happy with the one-acts that were chosen this year."

This production features six one-acts, a "nice mix of comedy and serious," Wiloth said. Unlike in previous years, there is not a connecting theme but rather a collection that flows together well.

Along with organizing and producing the festival, Wiloth is also directing the one-act "Point of No Return," which was written by Carla Stanley.

It centers on a family custody battle that pits Margaret (Beth Clark) and Michael (Xian Fredericksen) against each other while their child, Freddie (Stevie McNabb), discovers who they are and seeks acceptance from their parents.

Wiloth said she wanted to direct the one-act from the moment she read it.

"I love directing shows that push boundaries, that leave audiences questioning and feeling some type of emotion strongly, regardless of that emotion," she wrote. "This-one act pushed boundaries and touches on subjects that are definitely a controversial topic in current day."

"I want people to leave the theatre talking about things, getting new information about things and topics they may have had no idea about before."

Other one-acts include:

"Hugo's Crag" (written by Mark Fischer, directed by Juan Quinonez): Two women (Jan Hefner and Julie Gaines) revisit one of their old stomping grounds from childhood, which stirs up some old memories.

"It Ain't Over Until the Pink Lady Sings" (written By Allison Fradkin, directed by Stevie McNabb): Starring Alyssa Rocha, Faith Thompson and Shelby Antongiovanni, the one-act is a LGBTQ coming-of-age story about two best friends, a new crush and a potential love triangle.

"Al Pals" (written by Allison Fradkin, directed by Faith Thompson): Gal pals Jeanette (Shelby Antongiovanni) and Phyllis (Stevie McNabb) anxiously await the results of MTV's "Video Thrilled the Parody Star" contest, hosted by "the hunky-doriest heartthrob of the 1980s," "Weird Al" Yankovic (Josh Carruthers).

"For the Living" (written by Barbara Gagnon, directed by Lindsay Pearson): A funeral director (Faith Thompson) finds a kind visitor (Jan Hefner), but all is not as it seems.

"Tday +1" (written by Thomas Coash, directed by Josh Carruthers): Carl (Tim Fromm) follows enthusiastic all-American friend Don (Xian Fredericksen) as they equip themselves for "a shopping date with destiny."

Returning to an in-person festival after online shows in recent years is a relief, Wiloth said. 

"We wanted to be able to take people's minds off what is going on in the world for a little while and just enjoy a night of live theatre," she wrote.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter: @realstefanidias.