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Players pack a week of activity into a one-act weekend

From original one-act plays to a comedy faceoff to improv, drag and burlesque, May 15 marks the beginning of a very special weekend at Carrollwood Players Theatre, 4333 Gunn Highway.

Beginning at 8 p.m. May 15, Carrollwood Players Theatre is bringing a mixture of comedy and drama to the stage to launch its One Act Weekend.

“The One Act Weekend at Carrollwood Players Theatre is a chance to showcase new plays that have never been produced, while helping to support our nonprofit mission. We have a range of directors and actors, from those doing it for the first time to seasoned community theater performers,” explained One Act Weekend producer Jim Johnson. “This year, the eight plays we have selected range from touching and heartwarming to outright funny.”

Only eight of the 120 scripts submitted were chosen for the annual One Act Weekend at the nonprofit community theater.

Eight local playwrights with diverse backgrounds, writing styles and themes now have the opportunity to see their vision become reality on stage.

This year’s featured short plays are “A Date with Jesus” by Marjorie Bicknell, directed by Ricky Jones; “Blonde Noir” by Michael Paul Cote, directed by Michael Paul Cote; “Chasing White Rabbits” by Alyssa Layton, directed by Paul Jannereth; “Color Me Screwed” by Nedra Pezold Roberts, directed by Stephan Bielawski; “Lookout” by Jim Moss, directed by Chelsea Orvis; “Princess Ashley and The Battle of Goblin Creek” by Jared Mallard, directed by Venessa Baez; “Ready to Sell” by Tom Raber, directed by Lauren Rodriguez; and “The Final Fifteen” by Steve Mason, directed by Jeff Lukas.

“As someone who spent most of his time on the stage, stepping into a directing role allows you to see what the other side of the theatrical process is like,” said Lukas. “You realize how difficult the audition process is, all the way to what it will take to get them to a great performance, and you develop an appreciation for such a difficult task.”

The stage, usually decorated for the featured production, will be bare sans a few set design pieces and a velvet black curtain. The One Act plays rely on the talent of the actors — and minimalistic use of props — to bring the playwright’s words to life.

One Act Weekend runs May 15 through May 17. The performances start at 8 p.m. May 15 and May 16. On May 17, they start at 3 p.m. Tickets are $12 and available online at www.carrollwoodplayers .org.

For night owls, following the May 15 performance is the inaugural CWP Laugh Off at 11 p.m.

Laugh Off will feature the comedy of Bryan Harris, Adam Williams, Tara Zimmerman, Stick Martin, SomeGuyNamedFrank, Ed Graham, Mike Freed, Natasha Samreny, Larry Weglarz and Geoff Williams.

These 10 comedians with five-minute sets will compete for a trophy and a cash prize. The audience will judge and vote for their favorite comedian in the first and second act to compete with a second new 10-minute set in a head-to-head Laugh Off. Votes will be tallied and the comedian with the most votes will be crowned winner of CWP Laugh Off 2015.

Tickets are $10 and available online at www .carrollwoodplayers.org.

Following May 16’s performance is the Life Amplified Masquerade at 11 p.m. The eighth in a series of variety showcases for local worthy charities produced by The WriteOne Creative Services, this is the first after-hours event.

Since its inception in 2013, Life Amplified has become synonymous with producing a quality spoken-word and variety showcase that benefits a different small, local grass-roots charity on January, May and September of each year.

Normally costing $10, with the purchase of a ticket to CWP Laugh Off with online code WEEKENDPASS at checkout, patrons, 18 and older, can attend Life Amplified Masquerade for just $5.

Life Amplified Masquerade benefits its host venue, Carrollwood Players Theatre. All proceeds raised will return to the nonprofit theater.

Changing from its typical spoken-word and variety structure, this adults-only after-hours event will feature the comic improv troupe Nine and Numb; the incredible old-fashioned tease of Kat Skratch Burlesque, with solo and group performances; and the stunning songbirds and female impersonators Vanna T. Scarlett and Nairobi D’Viante.

Life Amplified Masquerade is a fantastical party not to be missed.

Tickets are $10 and are available online at www.carrollwoodplayers .org or www.lifeamplified showcase.com.

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