Infused with Matt Greenfield's earnest embrace of offbeat humor, the DIY micro-theater company Oddy Fest defies expectation this week by launching its second season. Greenfield started producing twice-monthly shows on odd Wednesdays last year at the Heights Arts Gallery. The performances are a hodgepodge of short plays, poetry and music — much of which Greenfield has written himself — presented with little staging, scenery or glitz.
A native Clevelander who teaches history at Gilmour Academy, Greenfield wrote nearly 90 short plays during the three years he spent teaching middle school in Florida. He mines his catalog of scripts, pulling the "somewhat more salvageable" ones for production by Oddy Fest. Greenfield's own writing is marked by overt cleverness, including puns. Most of the rest of the material comes from the other performers, who are Greenfield's friends. There's a distinct "talent show" quality about the proceedings.
A shuffling of space at Heights Arts forced Oddy Fest to look for a new location for its upcoming season. It found one across the street at the Cleveland Heights/University Heights library. The new venue comes with a new ticket price (free) and a new performance night (odd Fridays). To keep revenue stream flowing, Greenfield has launched a line of merchandise, which includes a CD recording of Oddy Fest music called Hamilton's Revenge and Greenfield's book of poetry, Tenure.
The first Oddy Fest program in the new location features two short plays and a set of music. The plays are Cat R. Kenney's McInjun (the story of an Irish/Indian boy who gets stranded downtown and has to walk to his house in Bay Village), and The Normal Engels, Greenfield's alternate look at his own "typical atypical family." In between, singer-songwriter Allison Bencar will perform autobiographical tunes.