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8 Short Plays

"8 Short Plays" is a surreal vaudevillian variety show. The plot of this poetic dialogue is performed by an ensemble of 8 and held together with a wild emotional logic. These passionate stories explore relationships to memory, art, and song.

A live experiment holding the audience responsible for absorbing a universe where frolic & logic exist together, the cast employs humor and storytelling to unfurl unexpected connections and the wonder of humans on stage. In the process traditional forms are celebrated, taken apart, and reinvented.

Written by Theresa Columbus , with individual acts by Cliff Doby, Malaika Aminata Clements, Rae Red and Megan Livingston
Co-directed by Sarah Jacklin and Theresa Columbus

The cast: Malaika Clements, Theresa Columbus, Cliff Doby, Sarah Jacklin, Elvis Karegeya, Megan Livingston, Parker Matthews and Rae Red

Sound design by Allison Clendaniel

Costumes by Nicolette LeFaye

Set by Mika Nakano

Lighting by Chris Allen

Stage Manager: Flannery Bendel-Simso

Photography by Dave Iden

Video shot by Andy Shenker and Tom Kessler

Performed for 3 weekends, 9 shows at the Mercury Theater in Baltimore, and performed in part at the Space Gallery in Pittsburgh and Rhizome in DC (2019)


A Flood of Emotions

What was so strange about the dress in the dream? How can your friends appear at your desk early in the morning? Will there be a flood of emotions? How do you write a song of deep friend love to someone? Can you over-analyze humor? What happens to a dream when you write it down, and what happens when you perform a play on one Wednesday night 25 years ago and it is deep?

First performed as part of the Late Night Series at Psychic Readings in 2016, then at Fields Festival in Darlington MD, and finally at the DC Arts Center in 2017, "A Flood of Emotions" attempts to answer these questions as it bounces back and forth between the studio where the play is being written and the bar the night before that inspired it. People bond through doing and making theater, and also by loving their friendships.

Comedy sketch written in collaboration with: Jinnene Ross
Music by Aaron Smith, Ruby Fulton, Liz Downing (DC performance) and Theresa Columbus

Cast: Stephanie Barber, Malaika Clements (Psychic Readings performance), Theresa Columbus, John Eaton, Moss Froom, Megan Livingston (Fields Fest and DC performance), Aaron Smith

Stage manager: Lauren Kane
Video shot by: Sonya Norko

Love Trilogy

“Love Trilogy” is a collection of 3 short plays written within a year’s time, navigating the sheer joys and the huge doubts and frustrations that can accompany romantic relationships. In the first play, “I Will Dance for You,” rejoicing in Joni Mitchell’s racier lyrics and bursting with giddy optimism, the artist (Columbus) and her lover (Aaron Smith) act out her thoughts about the relationship. She puts her words in his mouth, but at the same time often quotes him, putting his words in her work as well as in her mouth. The two act out their own prerecorded voices, and play with the trope of musical theater.

The second play in the trilogy is entitled “New Years Day 2015,” and chronicles one of the saddest and most yearning days of their 5 year relationship. Throwing away a little piece of nature from her hometown he had given her on a walk links her to the act of destroying a precious thing dating back to her earliest memories. This scene takes place between her and a good friend (her writing? her conscience? …or maybe a good friend.)

The third play in the trilogy, “The Second Dawn of the Year,” speaks to the poetry that follows these most intense relationship days, the artist reaching for words to help express what seems like volumes of conflicting emotions. Technology is a metaphor for emotional difficulties, cardinals and shadows metaphors for poetry and what works. The play explores the way words inspire and resonate and adhere to people as they become part of each others’ lives


Performed at Worlds in Collusion as part of Artscape in 2015
Sound recording by Aaron Smith

Cast: Linda Campbell Franklin, Theresa Columbus, Aaron Smith, Jake Budenz (dancing)

The Artist Statement

Theater Room in Rooms Play

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