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Aristotle and the Russian Roulette

Saviana Stanescu

What about this one-minute thing? It’s something fascinating about a clock’s second hand completing that beautiful circle: tick-tick-tick …. 60 – one minute. Something round, finished, complete. A second goes too fast and an hour too slow, the minute is the only time-entity that we are able to capture effortlessly. We have the drive and the patience to actually follow those clicks, those ticks, those granules of sand moving in the bowels of an hourglass, that regulated trickle of material from the top to the bottom, those seconds passing, that cycle being completed. We can easily count to 60 if necessary.

The minute is the most user-friendly unit of time. And through a leap of logic, that leads me to … unity of time. Of space, of action… does it sound familiar? Yeah, ol’ Aristotle nods, patting his beard, cracking his whip – you’re still following my rules…

No, I’m tricky. I like to challenge the Western patriarch of dramatic structure. I’ve got my B&B lucky charms (Brecht&Beckett), I’ve got a cool gang of scribes ready to smash forms and attack predictable structures. In one-minute? In an hour, ten minutes, five, three, two, and yes, one. I’ll cheat on grandpa’ Aristotle as much as I can – sorry! Not just because he wrote that women were inferior to men. Sorta second hand dudes with no access to creativity. To playwriting. OK, let’s say that it was in the spirit of the ancient times. But in the era of facebook, twitter, google, internet dating and one-minute-how-to (just watched: How To Cook A Shrimp On The Barbie, How To Deal With The Icelandic Volcano, and How To Select Music For A Belly Dance Show) there’s no excuse to keep worshipping the ol’ fellow. Even if he was Greek like my grandfather.

So my characters in Girl Meets Boy. Or Not. aim to pay little tricks on what can be dramatically done in 60 seconds. They have the mission to break the fourth wall and ignore the other three. And that’s why I’m happy to be part of this one-minute festival again. Last year I thought a one-minute play was a half-page monologue. I’m a wise alumna now J. I’m here for the challenge. The break.

And while my one-minute gets wild in Astoria, downtown Manhattan I have a one-hour text rising up to a different challenge: Polanski, Polanski at HERE Arts Center. I say Polanski and you all think you know what’s this play about. And you kinda know but you have no clue why I’m adding a new element here: the Russian Roulette. One bullet, a revolver, spin the cylinder, go. One chance in six to end everything for Mr Polanski.

OK, and here is why I brought that up (besides shameless plugging J)

The one-minute play festival is like a Russian Roulette. The fun-gun spins 90+ times and there surely are a bunch of bullets in there. But you don’t know which one is gonna hit you. It’s exciting, it’s suspenseful, no, it’s not dangerous, you’re not gonna die, not even of boredom, no time for that, but you wait, you wait, you’re ready, for that aha moment, that great play that’s gonna hit you with some cool thought, a revelation, an elevation, it’s gonna hit you, it’s gonna keep you there, and you can’t escape, the clock is ticking, the cylinder is spinning, the bullet-play is coming. It’s coming. It’s coming! (click)

OK, you got it. The festival is coming.  BE THERE.

-Saviana Stanescu

80+ plays. 30+ actors. 7 directors. 1-minute.

The 4th Annual NY One Minute Play Festival

Saturday, Sept. 25th & Sunday, Sept. 26th at 8pm

At Astoria Performing Arts Center

Buy your tickets here: http://bit.ly/1-minute-tix

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