Friday-Saturday, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd., Olney, olneytheatrecenter. org, 301-924-3400.
Active Cultures gets game face on
Actors and athletes usually occupy separate cliques in high school, but this weekend at the Riverdale Park Arts Festival, Active Cultures Theatre offers a sports-and-stage mash-up with “Sportaculture IV,” five original 10-minute plays all focused on sports in the Washington area.
Four of the productions are commissioned works: “Fight Song” by Bob Bartlett, “Nobody Beats the Wiz” by Evan Crump, “I Go” by The Post’s Alexandra Petri and “Homestead Gray Pie” by Jennifer Nelson.
The fifth play, selected via a playwriting competition held earlier this year, is by rookie playwright Jean Koppen. She got started in playwriting a year ago when she took a course at her local community theater in Alexandria. By day she works as a researcher for AARP, but her passions are theater and the Washington Capitals.
Koppen started her script by thinking about how she became a Caps fan. Her husband, a lifelong hockey fan, “proposed that we get season tickets,” she said. “And it was this thought process of, ‘Wow, that’s a big commitment. That’s a big financial thing.’ ” They decided to take the subscription plunge and, in doing so, befriended a group of guys in their 20s who sit next to them. They, too, had made a big commitment.
Soon she had her play: “Capsmittment,” about two male Caps fans in their 20s (named after two of the guys who sit by Koppen and her husband at games) who are trying to decide whether they’re ready to make a season-long commitment to their team. “They’re talking about Caps season tickets, but they’re also talking about marriage at the same time,” she said.
“The hockey lingo was easy,” added Koppen. “The part that was the hardest for me was . . . I had to take out all the foul language. It was so limiting!” As anyone who has ever attended a sporting event can attest, eliminating the four- letter words from a hard-core fan’s vocabulary could easily leave them speechless. “The first time I heard an actor read it, though,” she said, “I thought: Okay, it works.”
Saturday-Sunday, Riverdale Town Center, 4650 Queensbury Rd., Riverdale Park, activecultures.org, 301-526-9921. All performances are free.