Festival Directors Discuss 10-Minute Plays

Director Ken Albanese

By Mark Saunders

Short attention span theater is back! Diez Minutos, San Miguel’s wildly popular international festival of 10-minute plays, will take place during the last two weeks in March. We asked our four directors—Kate Rowland, Ken Albanese, Lauren Osornio, and Michael Gottlieb—to tell us what we can expect during this year’s festival.

Diez Minutos 2015
San Miguel’s 3rd International Festival of 10-Minute Plays
Thu, Mar 19; Fri, Mar 20; Thu, Mar 26; and Fri, Mar 27, 7:30pm
Sat, Mar 21; Sun, Mar 22; Sat, Mar 28; and Sun, Mar 29, 5:30pm
Teatro Santa Ana
La Biblioteca
Reloj 50A

Michael Hager: We’re trying a theme again this year and it is “Lost in Translation.” Do you see any special challenges in following this theme?

Ken Albanese: There are no limits to this year’s theme in my view. All works of art are about communication between the creators, the participants, and the audience. Whenever people are communicating there is always the chance someone will get lost.

Kate Rowland: I agree. The plays explore some aspect of our humanity, be it our attempts to connect with others, or our need to know ourselves. Quite often, miscommunication rears its head.

Lauren Osornio: Each play is interesting and most have an unexpected twist. And we have wonderful actors. I think the audience will be pleasantly surprised.

Michael Gottlieb: I suppose you could say all conflict is miscommunication, but here, at least in the scripts I’m directing, the theme is more a literal part of the experience.

MH: What are the strengths of the 10-minute play form?

MG: I think it’s a great “form” because if something sucks, it will be over soon. It challenges writers and actors to get to the heart of things quickly, resolve them neatly, and move on.

LO: I agree. After one of my 10-minute shows, an audience member said to me, “This format is great for those of us with ADD.” I guess that says a lot about today’s audience and why the short form is so popular.

MG: I’d like to add that this festival for the last three years has been my introduction to the form. And I’ve quite grown to appreciate it.

MH: When you pick a play, what do you look for?

KA: Primarily, I look for plays that have the potential to move an audience—to laughter, tears, or thought.

LO: Something that moves me. Hard to say what that is exactly, but when I see it, I know it.

MG: Does the dialog snap? Is it smart? Is the premise compelling? Is there a significant dramatic action? What’s the burden on the design departments/props/costume/set, and finally, do we have the ponies (actors) to pull the sled around the track?

KR: It sounds as if we all agree. We look for something that moves us as directors. I also look for beautifully crafted language, be it hip and contemporary, or poetic and classical.

MH: Thank you, directors. In closing, I’d like to remind San Miguel theater goers that tickets for last year’s festival sold out almost immediately. Don’t wait too long. Tickets are on sale now at the Santa Ana box office.


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