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December 12, 2006


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Why would that anger anyone 'round here?

I think one good reason might be that it's hard to expect $18 to watch one 10 minute play. You'll need, you know, more than one 10 minute play. Hence, a night of short plays.


On a more serious note, though, evenings of short plays invite broad participation. This can be exhausting and is often uneven. Occasionally, though, you hit the right mix and just have a parade of top-flight work, none of which wears out its welcome.

Last night I watched the dress of Standards of Decency, which has nine plays, 24 actors, four directors... just the casts sitting in the house filled up the Access. Of course, I was a bit wary of what this would be (who are these other writers, what have they brought to the table, will this all be 'too much'?) I'm happy to say, after watching it from top-to-bottom, I'm just tremendously proud to be a part of it.

Ben Ellis

For me, writing a short (10-minute) play may be about flexing some muscles that I'm worried about the perishing of, so that I can write a short work based around, say, a particular emphasis on characterisation. Or to emphasise patterns of language over story, etc. Or simply that it's the best fit for the initial idea.

For others, it can be about show-casing, which I think is a slightly dubious way to go about life in general. That "this might led to something else I'd preferring to be doing instead of this" syndrome, you know?

When you think about some stand-up comedy nights that are very very popular, a lot of that is based around a multitude of ten to fifteen minute slots. Some audiences crave variety, so the short play night perhaps crosses over or introduces that kind of audience.

Think back to the Elizabethan theatre and in a way the variety and mish-mash of styles, the broad brushstrokes of some of Marlowe's Dr Faustus alongside the same play's deeper character investigations at other moments resembles something of a messed-up (mashed-up) short play night under the one thematic or narrative umbrella.

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