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It's said that every bad decision results in a good story. That may be why there is a theme to the five plays that are part of the second annual installment of Orange County's original play festival, OC-Centric, which concludes this weekend at Chapman University.
This marks the second year of the festival, inspired by Washington's realization that Orange County, though continually marginalized in most artistic discussions, is a hotbed for dramaturgical expression.
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The goal of the festival, Washington said, is two-fold. First, it gives OC playwrights a forum to see their work produced in full-fledged productions. Second, it affords them the opportunity to display their talents to a wider audience.
"I think it's important for (local writers) to collaborate with other local artists, because if you don't know what other people are doing, how can you develop partnerships with other community-based artistic organizations," she said. "But it's also a way for local writers to get more recognition and to show what they're capable of. In terms of new plays, people don't think local. They think, 'what are you doing regionally or nationally?' But a lot of our local playwrights have had plays produced across the United States but there's still (this stigma) that since people don't know their names, they are not as serious."
The reality, Washington says, is that OC playwrights have as much to say and, just as important, the talent to say it, as writers in any other part of the country.
"There is so much quality to OC playrwrights, something that a lot of people don't know about because there aren't a great deal of local productions," she said. "But OC playwrights are smart, they are savvy, they have great ideas and, most important, they know how to tell stories. And that's what theater is all about. To tell stories."
This is the second year of OC-Centric and Washington says she and co-producer Eric Eberwein are committed to making it a long-term affair
"We're not going anywhere," she says. "At some point we may open the festival to writers from Los Angeles or other (neighboring communities.) But right now, this is an Orange County new play festival and we're committed to continuing that."
Chapman University's Studio Theater, Moulton Center Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat.,. 2 & p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. (714( 902-5716. http://occentric.weebly.com/