Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Acme's Winter Festival of Twelve-Minute Plays"

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note: entire contents copyright 2003 by Beverly Creasey

What Can You Do in Ten Minutes?

Reviewed by Beverly Creasey

Ever wonder where those clever Ten Minute plays in the Boston Marathon come from? They start out at the Theatre Coop’s “Ritalin Readings” or Hovey’s “Summer Shorts” or Our Place’s “New Works” Evenings or the Acme Theatre’s “Twelve Minute” Winter Festival. Acme adds two minutes to the ten-minute idea just to be different but it’s my suspicion that they’re really ten-minute plays which just repeat a line or two…

And yes, you really can experience a complete play in ten minutes, with a beginning, middle and an end. You can find out for yourself this week and next because both Acme and Our Place are hosting festivals right now.

If you make the trek to Maynard for the Acme Winter Festival, you’ll see Jerry Bisantz’ touching monologue about a favorite uncle or Glen Doyle’s naughty play about community theater (and the perennial first timer with only three lines to screw up).

Tom Berry writes elegant little elegies to times past and his current romantic memory play is no exception. (It doesn’t hurt to have a smart director like Michelle Aguillon either and crackerjack actors like Leigh Berry, Patrick Flanagan, Michael Corbett and a pint-sized Sarah Bernhardt called Rebecca Stevens.)

Stephanie Biernbaum makes a sweet, innocent stuffed bear in Steve Bergman’s heartbreaking ode to lost childhood. Rob Mattson manages to pack a political punch in ten minutes with his savvy play about homelessness.*

Longwinded playwrights (and you know who you are) can take a lesson from these guys. They get their point out there, across and wound up without any down time. And if you don’t like where a play is going, sit tight. It’ll be over in ten minutes. What’s not to love?

* All of the above from “Track Two” of Acme’s Festival. (I never figured out which night was the “local” and which was the “express!”)

Winter Festival of New Works (8 - 17 January)
Artspace, 61 Summer Street, MAYNARD MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide