They're only 10 minutes but they can pack a wallop. Everything you love about an evening at the theater has been distilled down, almost haiku-like, to a brief, but potent, dramatic event.
Artwork Enterprises, the local non-profit organization that produces the Ashland New Plays Festival in October, will sponsor its annual 10-minute play festival in collaboration with the Theater Department of Southern Oregon University.
The Public Domain Players, senior theater students at Southern Oregon University, led by students Amanda Long and Scott Marden, will produce readings of eight 10-minute plays Saturday, Sunday and Monday, July 7-9, in SOU's Stevenson Union Arena.
The plays were chosen from 217 submissions from 28 states and Canada. Last year there were 99 submissions. They were read by a panel of 20 theater arts students who whittled them down to 40 finalists before selecting eight winners. They are:
"Child's Play," by Kolby Granville and Ry Herman from Tuscan, Ariz.
"Confessions of a Plate and Shoe," by Josh McIlvain from New York, N.Y.
"A Mourning in April," by Michael Davison of San Francisco
"Safe," by James McLindon of Northampton, Mass.
"The Source," by La'Chris Jordan of Seattle
"A Shiner, A Diner," by Dan Moyer of Palo Alto, Calif. (author of last year's "Housetaurant")
"Turtle Shopping," by Scott McMorrow of Inverness, Calif.
"The Critics," by Ian Grody of New York, N.Y.
The 10-minute play format has become increasing popular across the country. Short plays take a simple, recognizable situation and illuminate it just enough to create an "aha" moment for the audience. "Get in late and get out early," was the advice playwright Robert Koon gave to writers of 10-minute plays.
Even though it is only 10 minutes, the play must have all of the elements of a full-length play.
"This format is so hard for writers," Long observed. "People have a hard time establishing enough action, characters or tension that is great play writing. Some plays might work if they were longer."
Marden found that some of the plays may have a good idea but the language doesn't capture the reader.
There are three to five characters in each play portrayed mainly by students from the SOU Theatre Department.
Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students and will be available at the door. Public parking is available in the university's Mountain Avenue parking lot.