The River’s Edge Theatre Company, which has donated proceeds from 11 of its 12 productions to organizations working for social justice, will host its first fundraiser for itself on Saturday, April 30.
“Short+Sweet” — six 10-minute plays, most by area playwrights — will be staged at the First Reformed Church in Hastings, starting at 7 p.m. Launched in 2019 by Meghan and David Covington of Ardsley, River’s Edge was granted nonprofit status in December.
Past beneficiaries of River’s Edge’s productions include The Innocence Project, Hastings-based Family to Family, Equality Now, the Actors Fund, Feeding Westchester, and the One Love Foundation.
Meghan Covington, the artistic director and board president (her husband is treasurer), spoke with the Enterprise on April 15 about the genesis of the upcoming show.
“I put a call out for plays last November, and got close to 200,” she marveled. “It seemed like a theme was shaping up in terms of plays we liked... most of the plays were about love and connection, and how we communicate or how we don’t.”
Hastings resident Melanie Hoopes, whose plays “Six Feet” and “Kindness Committee” were produced by RiverArts, was on Covington’s list. “I asked Melanie for a play because I knew and love her work,” Covington stated. Hoopes obliged with “Mrs. Petricone.” Directed by Sara Wolkowitz of Hastings, “Mrs. Petricone” tells of a mystery girl causing trouble at a high school, and the principal on a mission to uncover the root of the problem.
One playwright might be considered a “ringer,” but in a positive sense. Glenn Alterman of Manhattan, who penned “After,” about strangers who meet after a funeral service and have more in common than they suspect, wrote a book about the “Short+Sweet” format. Alterman’s “Writing the 10-Minute Play” was published in 2013. Jessica Irons, artistic director of Theater O in Ossining, directs “After,” with David Covington in the cast.
Meghan Covington directs “I See You,” by Serena Norr of Mount Kisco, which depicts old friends meeting on a street seven years into the pandemic.
None of the plays were written for the event. “We just curated them to fit our circle of actors and directors,” Meghan Covington said. To use as many actors as possible, the Covingtons cast the plays to ensure there were different actors in each.
Rivertowns artists predominate. “Shackled” features two women who have a brilliant idea about solving many of the planet’s problems — and male friend who’s not equally enthusiastic; playwright Don Creedon and director Marie-Louise Miller are both from Hastings. Creedon also directs “Playing With Dolls” by John Mabey of Atlanta. In Mabey’s piece, two fathers meet in an alley and share secrets and advice.
Another Hastings resident, Mark Cajigao, directs “Listening,” by Jennifer O’Grady of Pelham, in which a teenager discovers her dad’s old records, and learns about vintage music and herself.
Regarding the “Short+Sweet” theme, Covington said “We felt, especially coming out of these couple of years... these issues of connection and isolation were issues people were struggling with — maybe even before the pandemic it was a struggle, too.”
During the pandemic, when indoor venues were off limits, River’s Edge performed at the Main Street School parking lot in Irvington, at Pierson Park in Tarrytown, and on Zoom. The company’s 2022 season is scheduled, though some surprises may be added.
River’s Edge has stated that its mission is “to reflect the human experience, spark conversation, and inspire social change.” Covington thinks the evening of “tiny plays” may help.
“The goal is to encourage people to think about how we connect and communicate with those around us,” she said. “I think the audience will leave with hope.”
Tickets for “Short+Sweet” at First Reformed Church, 18 Farragut Ave., range from $50-$150. Proof of vaccination and masks required. To purchase tickets, visit riversedgetheatre.com.