STAPLETON — A new run of shows on Staten Island will tackle the evil in the world — with a comedic twist.
Local playwrights will stage "Faces of Evil," a collection of four short plays, this weekend in an effort to look at the subject of evil in different — and amusing — ways.
"We want people to laugh and have a good time," said Avi Gvili, one of the playwrights who organized the event. "But we also want to create a dialogue and definitely stimulate people's thinking on the subject."
Gvili, Jaclyn A. Lurker, Helene Montagna and Lawrence F. Schwabacher will each stage 15-minute plays at the Staten Island Artists Building dealing with a range of topics, from mean, inconsiderate people on the Staten Island Ferry to evil people in history.
Aside from making people laugh in the face of evil, Gvili said he hopes the shows will also help grow the literary scene in the borough.
"We're hoping to encourage the arts movement on Staten Island, specifically with a focus on writing, literature and play writing," he said.
"That's been around for a while, but it's more often the graphic arts that can take the front seat. We want people to know that there's also a vibrant community of serious writers."
After approaching the owner of the Staten Island Artists Building to use the gallery space to perform plays for the first time, Gvili and others hired professional actors they've worked with before to set up a weekend run of shows starting on Friday.
Even though they won't presell or reserve seats for the shows, Gvili said response to the idea has been strong, with many requests to buy seats beforehand.
If all goes well, Gvili and the other playwrights hope to take the show on tour to other spaces around the borough and partner with literary groups to put on more productions.
"We hope to connect with people and say 'reading, writing and all of that is wonderful and in the digital age there's still a lot of people working in this field and it still has value,'" Gvili said.
"We really respect literature and respect the work that playwrights do, and we want to encourage that further on Staten Island."
"Faces of Evil" will start on June 27 at the Staten Island Artist Building, 73 Wave St., at 8 p.m. Shows will also be on Saturday, 8 p.m., and Sunday, 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door.