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Way off Broadway! Manhattan theater troupe hits Bay Ridge • Brooklyn Paper

Way off Broadway! Manhattan theater troupe hits Bay Ridge

Coming attraction: Jen Silverman’s one-act play about rising floodwaters was inspired by last year’s Hurricane Irene.
Courtesy of Jen Silverman

Why go off-Broadway when you can go off-Ridge Boulevard?

A respected Manhattan theater troupe will take its talent to the outer boroughs when it premieres three short plays at its first-ever One-Act Festival at Christ Church on Ridge Boulevard.

The Abingdon Theatre Company — a group dedicated to producing new American dramas — doesn’t have much experience in Bay Ridge, but festival artistic director Jan Buttram hopes the neighborhood’s drama-lovers will come out en masse.

“It’s beautiful out there, and everybody was so nice to us,” said Buttram, who visited the neighborhood just once before, while looking at an apartment decades ago. “We’re really hoping people come out to see it.”

One of the writers, Jen Silverman — whose 2011 play “Crane Story” opened to glowing reviews — hasn’t set foot in the tree-lined southern Brooklyn community, but said being in unfamiliar places is just part of being in theater.

“Part and parcel of being a playwright is working in venues you’ve never worked in,” the writer said. “We’re crossing our fingers that the community comes out and supports us.”

Inspired by last summer’s Hurricane Irene-induced flooding in her home borough of Queens, Silverman wrote a short play for the festival about a city in the throes of a natural disaster and an elderly woman who decides not to go along with the evacuation.

“She realizes that if you are the one who stays in the city when everybody else leaves, the city is yours,” Silverman said. “You can sort of create your own world.”

Buttram liked the idea enough that she decided to direct it.

“It’s really a concise, concise study. She has a quirky sense of character, and a good sense of the multi-generational landscape of our country,” said Buttram.

The Abingdon One-Act Theatre Festival at Christ Church [7301 Ridge Blvd., between 73rd and 74th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 745–3698, www.abingdontheatre.org]. Aug. 25, 7 pm, $10, $20 for families of three or more.

Lady in charge: Jan Buttram serves as the artistic director of the Abingdon One-Act Play Festival, coming to Bay Ridge on Aug. 25.
Courtesy of Shirley Herz Associates

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