The 10-Minute Play Festival Awakens
By Michael Hager and Mark Saunders, photo by Lou Barranti
As produced playwrights with ever-increasing short attention spans, we thought it would be fun to produce ten-minute plays. It was. But in 2013, when we introduced Diez Minutos, an international festival of original ten-minute plays, to San Miguel audiences, we were not sure what to expect. To say we were pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. It turns out San Miguel loves ten-minute plays.
Diez Minutos 2016
San Miguel’s 4th Annual International Festival of 10-Minute Plays
Thu–Sat, Mar 17–19 and Thu–Sat, Mar 24–26, 7pm
Sun, Mar 20 and 27, 5pm
San Miguel Playhouse
Tickets US$12 (online)/200 pesos (box office)
For more details: Playerssma.com
For the last three years, the Diez Minutos festival has played to sold-out audiences, and we expect this year’s festival—under the talented and astute leadership of Michael Gottlieb and Players Workshop—to sell out its run as well. That’s why we encourage you to buy your tickets early.
A 10-minute play is a compressed theatrical experience with a beginning, middle, and end, almost always set in one location, having limited staging requirements, and almost always featuring a small cast, often only two to three characters. It’s not merely a scene from a longer play, a skit, or a monologue. It is a play.
In the words of playwright Rich Orloff, “The best short plays usually start with a situation the audience can grasp quickly (even if the situation turns out to be different from what is initially assumed), engage the audience in its journey, and have a surprising twist near the end. The surprise can be moving or comedic, but it shouldn’t just be about plot. It should reflect on the theme and story that have built to that moment.”
The 10-minute play, as a theatre genre, was introduced at the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s 1977 Humana Festival. Since then actors and audiences everywhere have embraced this dynamic and challenging form, “the American theatre’s haiku.” Accomplished playwrights including David Henry Hwang, Steven Dietz, Tina Howe, Athol Fugard, Brian Friel, Theresa Rebeck, and Tony Kushner have written 10-minute plays.
Yes, theater companies and audiences have greeted 10-minute plays with a sustained round of applause—and why not? Actors and directors like them because it’s not a huge commitment. Producers like them because they can sample a variety of playwrights and the productions don’t cost much to put on. Audiences enjoy the variety of plays offered during the course of a single evening.
The themes of such plays can range from serious to silly, in which the smallest thoughts render the biggest results. Best of all, if the play you’re watching doesn’t excite you, just wait a few minutes and the next play might blow your socks off.
This year’s festival theme is “Games People Play” and will include eight plays, four directors, and 14 actors, a treasure trove of who’s treading the boards in San Miguel. Don’t wait and don’t miss out on the theater event of the year. Purchase your reserved seating tickets today online at Playerssma.com or in person in Centro at 57A Mesones at Relox, or at the theater one hour before show time.