Michael Dempsey is serving up a career retrospective in a couple of hours with a show opening Friday as part of the Rust Belt Theater Company's summer season.
''An Evening in Michael Dempsey's Shorts'' is an an assortment one-act plays, sketches and monologues written by the Boardman native.
''A couple are some of the first things I ever wrote,'' Dempsey said. ''I don't know if I want to admit how far back that goes ... And two monologues and a short scene were written specifically for this.''
Some of the pieces have been staged in New York, Los Angeles and regional theaters while others will be seen for the first time. Dempsey, who also is directing the program, said he picked the pieces that he thought would work well together and also could be staged without elaborate sets and costumes.
''I also just wanted to give a sampler of the different kinds of writing I do,'' he said.
The program includes: ''Unabridged,'' the story of two engaged university intellectuals who explore bungee-jumping as a solution to infidelity; ''The Second Coming of Botswana Beauregard,'' about a teenaged boy who meets a homeless woman who claims to be a secret agent - and his mother; ''Inferiority,'' which imagines Joseph and Mary from the Bible going to see a marriage counselor; and ''When Opportunity Strikes,'' where a woman wonder if the man she just hit with her car could be her soulmate.
The acting ensemble features Kayla Boye, Kage Coven, Donna Downie, Josh Fleming, James Hain, Rob Joki, Tanja Lynn, Tom Smith, Tricia Terlesky, Hunter Thomas and Nicole Zayas with many of the actors appearing in multiple sketches.
''Kage Coven goes from playing an angry mime in one scene and then in the next scene he's Joseph from the Bible,'' Dempsey said. ''It's a pretty broad range.
''They're really a remarkably talented group, a very smart group of actors, which helps. My work tends to be wordy - in a good way, and they're articulate and smart, which makes it easy for me.''
This is the third of three one-act programs spotlighting local playwrights by Rust Belt, and it starts a busy theater season for Dempsey, who will see several area theater companies produce his work, including ''Hail to the Chef'' at the Oakland Center for the Arts and ''Romeo and Juliet War'' at Kent State University at Trumbull Theater. .
''It's a complete accident,'' he said ''I didn't make any kind of special push to get anything out. I've been back (in the Mahoning Valley) since 2009, and nothing of mine has been done locally. It's all completely separate. I don't know why, but I'm glad.''
''An Evening in Michael Dempsey's Shorts'' will be staged at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Aug. 24-25 at the Calvin Center, 755 Mahoning Ave., Youngstown. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens. For reservations or more information, call 330-507-2358.