William Cherno, left, and Greg Halvorsen appear in a play...

William Cherno, left, and Greg Halvorsen appear in a play at "South Shore Theatre Experiences Goes to the Movies." Credit: Yellow House Images / Andrew Theodorakis

Marian King of Bay Shore is feeling a touch of opening-night jitters leading up to her debut at age 77 as a professional playwright.

“I’m a little nervous about how it’s going to turn out, but excited to see the audience’s reaction,” said King, a retired piano teacher whose last play was a 1980s elementary school musical about the biblical Jonah. King’s “Popcorn: A One-Act Play in Thought Balloons,” is being presented at “South Shore Theatre Experience Goes to the Movies,” a one-act play festival in Lindenhurst running Thursday-Saturday. Each of the eight- to 12-minute playlets have a common theme — the movies.

“We wanted to end the summer on a fun note before school starts,” said artistic director Deborah Cascio Plezia.

King’s son, regional theater actor Sean King, 53, of Levittown, told his mom about the festival and urged her to try her hand at comedy writing, she said. “It popped into my head that it should be about a couple going to the movies.” Her festival entry stars her son and Plezia as a married couple who reveal their true feelings to each other on a movie date. “If you like old movies, you are going to love my play,” Marian King says.

Six other Long Island playwrights answered the nonprofit theater’s call, spread by word-of-mouth and social media, to write new, funny cinema-centric works.

THE SCRIPT DOCTOR IS IN

Plezia also serves as the festival play doctor helping the new authors edit and rewrite their entries. All put a handful of characters through a variety of silly situations on a single shared set: a row of movie seats.

The concept was red meat for Larry Hart, 49, of Massapequa, whose day job is managing a McDonald’s in his neighborhood. In his satire “Fresh Out of Ideas,” a quartet of hack screenwriters make cringeworthy pitches for movie remakes, sequels and reboots. Hart’s favorite bit is when one writer, told that his shark attack idea was already done as “Jaws,” asks, “But has it been done as a musical?”

The screenwriter’s craft is also fodder for “I’ll Have What She’s Having” by Brian Schwimmer, 48, of Massapequa Park. Schwimmer, a family business owner with a sideline writing plays, wove about 100 classic movie lines into his rom-com set inside a police station. Schwimmer doesn’t actually quote the famous punchline from the deli scene in “When Harry Met Sally,” but he does work in Mae West’s immortal “Why don’t you come up and see me?” 

Among the others on the bill are the spoof “The Shining: A Parody,” by Kristie Bellucci, 34, of Lake Grove and “Visionary,” a Hollywood satire and the 94th regional theater production by journalist-playwright John Blenn, 60, of East Meadow. In Blenn’s play, a Long Islander pitches a movie about his 93-year-old grandmother to a Hollywood mogul.

“The guy wants to add robots, superheroes and cleavage to punch up the grandmother’s story,” Blenn said.

For Anna Marie May, 44, of Lindenhurst, who used the pen name Grace Walker for her debut “Endings,” a memory piece about two men revisiting a pair of iconic 1980s movie hits, the festival is a great chance to both share her work and grow as an artist.

“I’m glad to get the opportunity to do this,” she said, “because an audience response teaches you so much.”

Getting it write

Think you have what it takes to be the next Neil Simon or David Mamet?

Studio Theatre in Lindenhurst is offering a 12-week play-writing course starting Sept. 4 that will culminate in November with a festival featuring students' work.

The course is being taught by Meagan J. Meehan, 32, of Bayside, a creative-writing teacher and playwright. After an introductory session at Studio Theatre, the course will move online for seven weekly lessons, covering settings, character motivation and other dramatic essentials. Students can log on at any hour to complete the lessons, submit play drafts to Meehan, and read and post critiques

“At the end of the class everyone will have completed a short play or a stand-alone scene from a full-length production that they are working on,” Meehan said. The final four sessions are devoted to casting and staging the plays.

Larry Maltin, 79, of Dix Hills, a retired psychology professor, says he’s signed up to improve his writing skills. “I’d love to see my works come to life” in local theaters, Maltin said.

David Dubin, Studio Theatre artistic director, hopes the course produces plays that hark back to the company’s founding in 1970 to “do the kind of theater Long Islanders don’t usually see.”

“We’re very much a niche theater for theatergoers that want to see something edgier, a little more challenging, something that might make them think the next morning,” Dubin said.

Tuition is $485. To sign up, send an email to artsycr8tiveint@gmail.com.


‘Southe Shore Theatre Experience Goes to the Movies’

WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 115 S. Wellwood Ave., Lindenhurst

INFO $20; 631-669-0506, southshoretheatre.com

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