Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 4-6 — Thespian Lyda Woods and her cohort of improvisational actors, playwrights and stage technicians will present "Shaped by Experience" — a set of four one-acts — this weekend at the Ashland Community Center.
Thespian Lyda Woods and her cohort of improvisational actors, playwrights and stage technicians will present "Shaped by Experience" — a set of four one-acts — this weekend at the Ashland Community Center.
Woods, Cynthia Rogan, Amy Katrina Bryan and Leanne Zinkand will serve up solo performances playing multiple characters. The multicharacter "monologues" are funny, personal pieces similar to Jane Wagner's "The Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe," starring Lily Tomlin.
Shows are set for 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4-5, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 6, at the community center. Tickets cost $12 and will be available at the door or www.brownpapertickets.com/event/308800. The production will be sponsored in part by Ashland Contemporary Theatre.
The common theme of each of the four pieces is "shaped by experience," Woods says.
"They ask questions about experience," she says. "Are we haunted by experiences? Have we learned to surface from bad experiences and essentially overcome them? Do we react in opposition to our experiences?
"The ways the four pieces answers the question are quite different."
Woods will perform "Ozma's Storm," a piece about a psychiatrist who employs her favorite patients to baby-sit her young daughters.
Rogan's "Cat-a-Tonic" explores the life of a cat hoarder whose memories intrude on her day-to-day life.
Bryan performs "The Real Story," written by Susan Knapp. It's a look at a woman on death row who tries to convince a reporter to help her get clemency for a murder she blames on her circumstances. Bryan is a music and acting coach, as well as the drummer for local band The Stamps.
Rogan, a playwright and novelist, discovered through adolescent eavesdropping that characters are everywhere.
"We all have our stories, our problems and our own way of looking at the world," she states in a press release. "And we all have the ability to touch someone else. So we are never really alone."
Rogan's novel, "Symphony of Dreams," was published in 2012.
Zinkand will perform "Neutral Buoyancy," about a novice, undersea diver who is moved by the vibrancy of an underwater kelp forest — until she runs into trouble.
Zinkland is a fiction writer who recently published her first novel, "The Spaghetti Afterlife."
Woods holds a Master of Fine Arts in theater from the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. She also has a master's in English and has taught writing at Rogue Community College's Medford campus for two years. She's produced dinner-theater mysteries at Jacksonville venues, and she works with seniors at Ashland Senior Center, helping residents tell their stories through theater.
Cassandra Wass is acting coach for "Shaped by Experience." Jeffrey Allen Hayes is stage manager and Andrew Trent is lighting designer.
See www.facebook.com/levityimprov for information about free improvisation classes. See www.facebook.com/gumshoegourmet to book a murder mystery.