an august return

ompf-logo-2-copy  I hate admitting to being excited about plans at the outset, because I’m always afraid I’m going to jinx myself. But, I have to say I’m pretty excited about The Second Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival. 

Last night, Dominic D’ Andrea sent out the e-mail explaining the groupings of scripts and pairing with directors, and just reading it feels really, really good. Dominic D’Andrea is one of the hardest working men in show business: he produces these One-Minute Play Festivals all over the country. They’re not just specialized by city or state; INTAR Theatre has partnered with the OMPF to create the One-Minute Play Festival of Latina/o Voices twice. The focus and energy of last year’s Philadelphia show was contagious enough to sell out all three performances. Remembering how much fun it was to watch and be part of, and looking forward to this new show, is making me feel all twitterpated.*

One of the goals in writing a piece for the One-Minute Play Festival is to reflect or explore a issue or trait unique to the host city, in a simple, powerful theatrical moment. So, basically, it’s a living haiku about our experience right now. They take longer to cook up and picture in your brain, than they do to actually write. When you write them, you have to write them so they’re actually much shorter than a minute, to give the actors room to breathe and be aware in the experience.

This is why we write plays, so we can take a plan and hand it off to other artists and see what they do with it.

Anyway, I’m excited, and based on the names and information I’ve seen so far, this promises to be a really good show. It takes place on August 3, 4 and 5 at 8pm, at the Adrienne Theatre. Yes, they’re school nights, it’s summer, deal with it. All the good stuff happens on weeknights anyway.  I get more excited over new plays than babies or jewelry.  This is going to have over a hundred new plays.  Whee!

——————————-

*Don’t know the word “twitterpated?” Neither does Autocorrect.  Walt Disney’s 1942 movie, Bambi, provides a pretty good working definition.

Good things, small packages

I’m very happy to say that I’m part of the Philadelphia Installment of the One-Minute Play Festival. 

ompf-logo-2-copy  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.