I’m very happy to say that I’m part of the Philadelphia Installment of the One-Minute Play Festival.
It’s exactly what you think: an evening of short plays, all of them one minute or less, a highly concentrated, haiku-esque dose of solid theatre. Creator Dominic D’Andrea has been making this happen in cities around the country, and I’m pleased as a pig in mud to be included on the same bill as these playwrights and directors. Some of them are longtime friends, some I’ve admired from a distance, and some of them are people I’ve never met, and we’re all crunching ideas into delicious tasty cake pops of emotional substance. Or, you know, coal into diamonds. Your mileage may vary.
I have created this kind of super-short theatre before, and “short” never means “simple.” For several years I was a contributing playwright to Night of 1000 Plays, produced by The Brick Playhouse. In that case, each performance piece was three minutes or less. Some of my favorite work came out of writing for N1K, especially Juliet Balcony, Let’s Call Him Matt, Not Without My Pumpkin, and Car and Driver. Writing Car and Driver let me play with a vocal style to give a car a personality, which later became the voice of the Lotus in Phoebe and the Lotus. So, I sort of knew what I was getting into when I started creating pieces to submit, and how they could help me in the future. It’s not that you’re creating a sketch: these are full, finished, stand-alone works. They exist best as a smaller piece of something big and diverse. and provide great opportunity for imagination, because your limitations are so severe.
So far, I have to say, writing a one-minute play is harder than writing a three-minute play. Basically, you get in, make meaning, and get out. Then remove the first and last ten seconds. Then condense, and condense, and condense. “Excuse me, but I need to buy a plant, can you help me?” has to become “Can you help me buy a plant?” which in turn has to become, “How much is the green thing?” or, “Please help me.”
Alternately, you just come up with the most concentrated dose of meaning you can think of. BAM.
So, anyway. Writing this kind of thing is fun, and it looks like the performances will be, too. They take place on Monday July 29th, Tuesday July 30th, and Wednesday July 31st at 8PM, at Interact Theatre Company, at The Adrienne Theater, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. Tickets are $20 and the significance is all-you-can-digest.