Home > Playwright Posts > YA GOT A COUPLE OF MINUTES?


Trevor Allen




Well… yes, I thought. Why not? I’ve written dozens of ten minute plays, but a play in a “New York Minute?” Hmmm. “So, who else is involved? Really? Wow. Um… and you want me? Really? Well, of course, I’ll do it. I have some free time.” Well, actually that wasn’t entirely true. When approached to submit a play for the One Minute Play Festival, my first impulse was to turn and run the other way because I was already working on a few new plays, VALLEY OF SAND for San Jose Repertory Theatre and rewrites on GOLDEN GATE FAIR for Playground, doing tweaks on LOLITA ROADTRIP for the world premiere at San Jose Stage Company and in a moment of weakness, I’d also just agreed to do an audio “phone play” whatever that is. If all that wasn’t enough, I was also trying to turn my play, WORKING FOR THE MOUSE into a novel during National Novel Writing Month. But I chuckled to my smug little self, “C’mon… it’s only a minute., How hard could it be?” Indeed. Now… other playwrights of the short form, reading this confession can probably guess what happened next. Chaos, panic and many, many hours spent overwriting and then removing just one more word. I find that it is always harder to do more with less and that it can take an inordinately long time to make something irresistibly concise. However, now after all the dust has settled and I have a pair of one minute plays in the show, I’m glad I said “yes.” But if I had known then how exacting the subtractive process of getting a “play” down to one minute could be… I might have done a runner. However, I’m proud to be a small part of such an amazingly talented group of artists. It has given me a greater awareness of the deceptive simplicity of a well turned phrase and a new appreciation of the infinite possibilities of a single page. So, just in case they ask me back, I’m already starting on one for next year. It’s only twelve pages long… but I figure I can get it down to about a minute by next December.

Thanks for the opportunity!



-Trevor Allen

Trevor’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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