Theatrical performances at Bakersfield College usually pool the talents of students. In the case of the Spring Play Festival, those resources have been split among four different shows, each with a different student director.
The brand-new festival, which began Wednesday and runs through April 2, offers a rotating schedule of shows with a mix of matinee and evening performances.
Note that all four plays contain strong language, adult themes and discussions of sensitive issues. No one under 14 is permitted.
"ART" (March 24 and 25): This show by playwright Yasmina Reza and directed by Victoria Gomez centers on three friends, one of whom has purchased a modern painting for a huge sum of money. While one friend judges him, another tries to mediate with little success. The trio ponder questions not only about the nature of art, but about the nature of friendship.
"Reasons to be Pretty" (March 25 and 26): Directed by Liz Bomar, this contemporary classic by Neil LaBute stems from a man's comment about his girlfriend's "regular" looking face, an action that not only sends their relationship over the deep end but challenges the bond of their married friends. Acknowledging the pressures of what it means to be "pretty," each navigate the infidelity, betrayal and deceit that creep into their lives.
"Five Women Wearing the Same Dress" (March 29, 31 and April 1): Directed by Marina Gradowitz, the show is a celebration of women set at an ostentatious wedding reception in Tennessee. Each of the five bridesmaids hiding in an upstairs bedroom have a reason to avoid the celebrations and their motives are revealed as the evening wears on. The wickedly funny play comes from Alan Ball, the screenwriter of "American Beauty" and creator of the television series "Six Feet Under" and "True Blood."
"Stop Kiss" (March 30, April 1 and 2): The powerful drama by Diana Son, directed by Manuela Torres-Orejuela, centers on two women, a traffic reporter and a third-grade teacher, who finds themselves drawn together even as a tragedy threatens to tear them apart. In the course of the play, told out of chronological order, relationships are explored, formed, and even ended.