Home > Playwright Posts > A SLIVER WITH A SHIFT


Tom Diggs



I used to run kicking and screaming at the thought of writing a ten-minute play. I’m old; I don’t have time to write just any ol’ thing.   I get embarrassed asking friends to leave the comforts of their homes, get a sitter, and pay to see less than a quarter of an hour of my work.  That’s more than just calling in a favor.

So the thought of writing a one-minute play …

A few years ago,  I went to a Seurat exhibit.  I know and love his larger pieces very much.  But Seurat only made a few of them.  The exhibit was curated in a way that you’d see all the studies and sketches that Seurat created beforehand – and then you come upon a master work and see them all organically composed on one glorious canvas.

And I got it.  That’s a very useful way for me to consider one-minute short forms, as studies and sketches for potentially larger pieces.  Little experiments, dabbling with ideas that someday might become a great big play of enduring length and value.  And that’s how I embraced the one-minute assignment.  More like a coffee date with some characters I might want to have a substantial relationship with later.

In the end, the only rule I gave myself was that something must shift by the end of the scene.  A sliver with a shift.  Sounds like something you’d put in a cocktail. But that’s what I sent Dominic.  Lean little studies that promise so much more.

A sliver with a shift.


-Tom Diggs



Tom’s plays are part of the New Jersey One-Minute Play Festival in partnership with the New Brunswick Theater Festival, January 22nd and 23rd at Rutgers University. For Details visit here.


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