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Half-Moon Theater shines

MILLBROOK — Theater is blossoming in Millbrook, in large measure because of the Half-Moon Theater, along with some help from the Millbrook High School. Friday and Saturday, June 3 and 4, at 8 p.m., Half-Moon presented the first 10-Minute Play Festival at the Millbrook High School auditorium. The event consisted of 10 (which turned out to be 11) plays, 10 minutes each, with 16 different actors, actresses and playwrights based locally and from New York City.“It’s a really fun way to see a lot of different playwrights and styles, and every playwright has their own sort of voice,” said Geoff Tarson, artistic director of Half-Moon Theater. “I think it’s wonderful because there are so many different plays and it varies so it never gets slow. There is a new one coming in just a few minutes.” All of the plays were written for the 10-Minute Play Festival with a loose theme of city versus country. “Some are very much about that, really almost taking that literally,” said Tarson. “Some are a little subtle, taking that sense a city person has coming into a country environment. Some of them are just very vaguely related to that, sort of entwined.” Along with the plays’ themes of city versus country, the playwrights themselves are a mix of country and city residents. There is no shortage of accomplishments among the playwrights and directors. Ranging from Fulbright scholars to television writers, the playwrights have worked with distinguished actors and in productions of their work around the world.It is no wonder that Annabel Barrett, 19, a Millbrook actress, is happy to be involved with the Half-Moon Theater.“I am young and seeing people who have been doing this a lot longer is just really inspiring. It’s fun because they’re all really my friends,” said Barret. “I have known the entire Half-Moon Theater for years. Everyone is just brilliant and funny, and basically the humor that you see on stage is exactly the way it is in real life.”Though Half-Moon Theater is based out of Poughkeepsie, the relationship with Millbrook is growing.“We have been doing readings in Millbrook for the last two years. We are trying to provide theater for Millbrook that it doesn’t seem to have,” said Tarson. “We have been doing our productions in Poughkeepsie, but we have definitely been trying to increase our audience and our visibility in Millbrook, which has been really supportive.”Though Half-Moon has done readings at the Millbrook Book Festival, Grace Church Parish House and Punch Gallery, the 10-Minute Festival is the first to be done at the Millbrook High School.“The reason we’re doing it at the high school is because we honestly wanted to accommodate more of an audience,” said Tarson. “We are only doing it for two nights, and because it’s a larger cast and so many playwrights, we wanted to make sure there were enough seats.” Tarson said if there were a space available to buy or share with another business, the theater company would like to have a permanent space in the village.“We are a new theater company and we don’t have a lot of money. But we would love to work with Millbrook. If Millbrook was interested in that as well, we feel like we could make Millbrook our home,” he said.Tarson said he hoped that the audience that came to see the 10-Minute Festival enjoyed the variety that the theater has to offer.“Its exciting to see that many plays and styles, and be like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I saw this play that was really wacky and off the wall and this play that was very real and very subtle,’ and that was all one evening,” said Tarson. “I think it’s hopefully really impressive in that way and enjoyable because people will not know what to expect and hopefully they’ll be really pleasantly surprised.”

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