A lectern. A bench. Four chairs. A table for two.

The scenes in the annual Island Theatre Workshop One Act Play Festival don’t actually feature much scenery, and they don’t have to. The spotlight is on the actors and their characters.

George Ricci in On the Harmful Effects of Tobacco. — Ivy Ashe

These plays are about personality. True, one play--Trifles, directed by Lee Fierro--features more props than the other five combined, but even in that scene they fade into the background as the actors hold forth.

The festival began Friday night and continues with performances Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Next week the schedule begins anew. The festival features six one-acts and the talents of four directors--Stephanie Burke, Ms. Fierro, Kevin Ryan and Leslie J. Stark. The First Fireworks, a funny yet wrenching exploration of a mother-daughter relationship brought to life by Felicity Russell and Christine Ferrone, runs only this weekend.

Friday’s crowd drank in the atmosphere of the cozy Katharine Cornell, which puts the actors up close. George Ricci’s formidable monologue as Ivan Ivanovich Nyukhin drew more than one Bravo! and during intermissions friends and family gathered around the performers to offer congratulations (a word that took on new meaning after the preceding play--She’s Fabulous, starring Linda Comstock and Melissa Keeler).

Mr. Ryan, vice-president of Island Theatre Workshop, introduced the festival on opening night by noting that while many actors are regulars, some have never set foot on a stage before.

“It’s fantastic,” he said.

The Island Theatre Workshop One-Act Play Festival features performances on Saturday, March 21 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 22, at 3 p.m. All performances take place at the Katharine Cornell Theater in Tisbury. Tickets are $15, or $25 for two.