Old couch inspires original short plays at Rust Belt Theater

Staff report


Rust Belt Theater Company will present “The Life of a Couch,” an evening of shorts by local playwrights. Performances will be at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and also June 29 and 30, at Calvin Center, 755 Mahoning Ave.

Each play is 10- to 15-minutes long and follows the life cycle of an old couch. The short plays range from absurd comedy to more poignant pieces that examine life, death and everything that comes between.

Robert Dennick Joki, director, described how the show got started.

“I got the idea one night when we were sitting on the orange velvet couch in the Calvin Center lobby,” he said. “We bought it, already well-worn, nine years ago, from a secondhand shop. It’s been a part of countless shows and events since then. I started to think about where it might have been before it came into our possession, and what adventures it might have if we ever pass it on to someone else.”

To come up with scripts, Joki gave local playwrights “the couch” as a writing prompt and then asked them to write approximately 10 minutes worth of material.

The scripts that will be presented in “The Life of a Couch” are:

“Ripped Seams” by America McNeil

“Proper Mourning” by Mac Pomeroy

“Unspeakable” by James Hain

“A Tale From the Gutter” by Mary Boldish James

“Wait” by Kage Coven

The evening also will feature short scenes and monologues by Joki. “My job was to read the scripts the writers produced, and then tie them together into one collaborative piece of theater,” he said.

The cast for all of the shorts includes Madi Pomeroy, Wesley Miller, Lisa Torrence, Mary Boldish James, America McNeil, Ryan Musgrove, Rachel Clifford, Hunter James, Jack Ryan and James Hain.

Tickets are $15 regular admission, and $10 for students and seniors. For reservations, call 330-507-2358.

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