Home > Playwright Posts > Cuts and the One-Minute Play

Cuts and the One-Minute Play

Geetha Reddy


Here is what happens when your director sends you this email:

“Love your one minute play! Can you cut 30 seconds?”


First a Tantrum:

No. No I can’t. How can you ask me that! That’s 50% of the fucking play.


Then Some Patronizing Thoughts:

Maybe she isn’t that good at math. I’ll just send her an email and explain that 30 seconds

is half of 60 seconds.

30/60 = 3/6 = 0.5; which we also call one-half or 50 percent.


A fit of Self-Righteousness

It couldn’t be possible that it is longer than 60 seconds. I mean I read it over the phone to Matt when he was at work and he timed it on his iPhone. It was 60 seconds. 60ish. Okay maybe I was reading fast, but can’t the actor do it fast? Pace people!


A Moment of Acceptance

Fine.  I’ll read it and see. I can do that. It’s just one page. Okay two. Two-ish.



I should print it out. That way I’ll have a fresh eye. Where’s the printer paper? Text Matt. He knows where it is… The top shelf of the garage? Maybe I should run out to Office Depot. I need a new red pen anyway.


Another Email Sparks Panic

They are rehearsing today!?


Cracking Down

Okay. First change tenses: “you’ll be” to “you’re.” Hey that worked!

Find other syllables to cut. “That way” becomes “So.” Two syllables! That should be about one second… I just have to find 58 more of those.

Screw it.

Cut the whole middle section and that last sentence. And the first few beats, And all that repetition. What made me think I could use repetition in a 60 second play?

Read. Add some repetition back. Combine sentences. Cut little details. Cut big details. Add connecting beat. Cut connecting beat. Read it aloud. Does it still make sense? Call Matt. Read play at reasonable rate. His iPhone says 49 seconds. He laughs at the right places. Hit send. Cross fingers.


-Geetha Reddy


Geetha’s plays are part of The First Annual SF One-Minute Play Festival, in partnership with The Playwrights Foundation. Saturday Dec 18 at 8PM, and Sunday Dec 19 at 7PM at the Thick House in San Francisco, California. Tickets are already almost sold out, and available here!!


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