OCTAFest features workshops, shows and receptions 

Right now may be the best time to be a local theater hound.

To be held Thursday through Sunday, the Oklahoma Community Theatre Association's biennial OCTAFest is a gold mine of 10 performances from all around the state, ranging from clever and humorous musicals to award-winning, darker-themed dramas. Workshops and post-show receptions round out the schedule.

This year's festival at The Pollard Theatre in Guthrie will feature performers from Tulsa, Elk City, Ardmore and other cities. Performers will compete in order to advance to the regional level.

Organizers said it's often difficult for community presentations to stay afloat, especially with summer blockbusters and big-name plays hogging the spotlight. OCTAFest presents a chance for local theaters to get material out to a bigger audience; each play is condensed for maximum impact in a short time.

On the slate is Karen Ellison's "The Harry and Sam Dialogues," which sheds light on the psyches of two working-class buddies through snack cakes and milk. On the other end is "'night, Mother," by Marsha Norman, about a woman who tells her mom why she's prepared to commit suicide (the original production starred Kathy Bates, so you know it's creepy).

Registration for the festival is $85, or $60 for OCTA members, and starts at 1 p.m. Thursday in the Pollard Theatre lobby, 120 W. Harrison, with opening ceremonies at 6:45 p.m. The fest concludes Sunday with a 10:30 a.m. awards brunch. A day pass is also available for $30.

For more information, call 236-0788.

 "?Jake Dalton

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