Foul plays: Bad Theater Fest showcases quirky one-acts

Spooky spin-off: In “She Hate Me,” playing at the Bad Theater Fest on Oct. 16, Frankenstein’s monster and his Bride go to marriage counseling.
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Fire bad! Theater bad, too!

More than a dozen bizarre short plays will lurch onto the stage next week for the Bad Theater Fest in Williamsburg. Despite the name, the eighth annual festival of experimental plays, running at the Brick theater on Oct. 16–19, does not really feature “bad” plays, in the sense of being poor quality, said one of the festival’s founders — instead, the plays are just quirky and off-beat enough to take the edge off of high art.

“They don’t fit in with the norm,” said Shawn Wickens, who co-founded the festival in 2012. “It’s easy to look at them and dismiss them for being bad.”

This year’s 19 out-of-the-box productions, each between five and twenty minutes long, represent a variety of genres, with an emphasis on the ridiculous. In one eight-minute comedy-horror piece, playing during the opening block on Oct. 16, Frankenstein’s Monster and his Bride go to marriage counseling, which highlights the problems that all people (and monsters) deal with behind closed doors, said its creator.

“You can be a scary monster and still have all the problems of a relationsh­ip,” said Leo Jenicek, the writer of “She Hate Me,” which takes its name from a line in the 1935 movie, “Bride of Frankenste­in.” Marital troubles may be Universal, but in this case, the couple’s monstrous bodies are also a factor.

“Because they’re made from other people, their communication isn’t what it should be,” Jenicek noted.

The festival’s other productions include a love story between a bat and a human, an interactive dating show where attendees compete for the love of the “filthiest woman alive,” and a drama about rezoning law. In previous years, the festival has showcased “Cat” — a one-woman production of “Cats: The Musical” — and a play about curling, which earned the festival a feature in Canada’s premier curling magazine.

The showcase’s casual attitude fosters a supportive and constructive atmosphere, said one playwright.

“It helps to take the edge off of wanting to create something that is ‘perfect,’ ” said Asim Ali, whose play “Cuckoo Drive” follows a man who receives an email from his future self. “I’m really comfortable with seeing what maybe doesn’t work in the play, and therefore, I’m less likely to make edits based on what I think the audience might love or hate about it.”

“Bad Theater Fest” at the Brick [579 Metropolitan Ave. between Lorimer Street and Union Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 907–6189,]. Oct. 16–19 at 7 pm. $20.

Reach reporter Rose Adams at or by calling (718) 260–8306. Follow her on Twitter @rose_n_adams
Updated 11:35 am, October 14, 2019
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