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BrooklynOne’s Seventh Annual Vince Mazza One-Act Play Festival hits the actor-playwright’s old stomping grounds

Short and sweet: Ridge company produces plays from Brooklyn and beyond

Brooklyn Daily

Maybe one isn’t the loneliest number after all.

Bay Ridge’s BrooklynOne Productions kicks off its seventh annual Vince Mazza One-Act Play Festival on Oct. 11 and the weekend-long showcase will not be short on abbreviated performances.

The expo of original shows — this year there will be eight in all — is meant to spotlight emerging talent and to recall an old friend. The first fest in 2006 was one of the company’s first ever shows and it immediately piqued the interest of Ridge actor Vince Mazza, who had always been known as a performer and not a playwright but was thrilled to have an opportunity to flex his creative muscles in the neighborhood, according to BrooklynOne co-founder Anthony Marino.

“He was a local actor, really popular with all the local theater groups, and was this closet playwright, who did not have a local place to produce his plays,” said Marino, a Dyker Heights native.

Marino said Mazza entered more than 10 one-act pieces for consideration in the first festival. But before the show began, tragedy struck — Mazza died of a heart attack. BrooklyOne decided to name the festival after Mazza both to honor his memory and to inspire other hopeful playwrights to push forward with their work.

“We wanted to show this was something everybody could do,” Marino said.

Today, with the help of the internet, the festival attracts talent from both Brooklyn and abroad, drawing play submissions from as far away as Israel and Australia. This year’s crop of homegrown writers includes the Greenwood Heights–based Steve Gracia, whose play “Day Drinking and Thinking of You” Marino is co-directing. Gracia describes the 20-minute drama as a ghost story in which the ghosts are not spirits but a couple’s memories as they are in the process of breaking up.

Gracia said he likes the one-act format because of its compactness, which gives his eerie tale of heartbreak a sharpness and immediacy that would be impossible in a longer work.

“I was attracted to the short form because it was a very practical way of getting a story out as quickly as possible,” said Gracia.

And, like Brooklyn itself, Gracia says the Vince Mazza festival has a unique intimacy and charm you don’t find elsewhere in New York.

“It’s got a neighborhood vibe, which you don’t get when you’re doing festivals in Manhattan,” said Gracia.

“Day Drinking and Dreaming of You,” part of the Vince Mazza One-Act Play Festival at Saint John’s Parish Hall [461 99th Street, between Fourth Avenue and Fort Hamilton Parkway in Bay Ridge.] Oct. 11–12, 8 pm. Oct. 13, 5 pm. Pay what you will. Each of the eight plays will be performed all three nights.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him attwitter.com/WillBredderman.

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