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Small vs. Big


Cusi Cram



Back in the day, I was asked to write a ten-minute play almost every ten minutes. I am exaggerating. But I have tried my hand at short plays and also written my share of the longer kind but when asked to write a one-minute play my heart seized up with bone crushing fear.


I got the assignment while I was adapting a 17th century Golden Age play, which has many characters and many acts. But three acts and fifteen characters seemed easier to me than saying something in a minute. I was even translating the play from Shakespearian-like Spanish. Even that daunting task seemed more enticing than saying something in sixty seconds. Why? I suppose in the one minute play there is no room for messing up, no space to redeem yourself later. Success and failure are sleeping in a twin bed, scratch that, they are engaged in a fierce lap dance and even just writing the word lap dance makes me uneasy. A one-minute play is a haiku, a good joke; it’s the close up of that moment in life where everything changes and something sacred is lost forever.


Today, watching the bright September sun fade into a late Friday afternoon, I am struck by all the possibility that exists in having faith in the power of small things to change big things. Thirty blocks south of me a group of brave energetic souls believe in the power of a simple message to wake up the world. They must have been afraid on that first night as they laid down their sleeping bags on the cold concrete of Zucotti Park. Yet they kept faith in the impossible. Plays should attempt to point their arrows toward that sweet spot of certainty and fear. Lets write, produce and support plays that make us believe that the impossible is deeply possible. If we can imagine it, it can be done, even in sixty frightening seconds.


-Cusi Cram


The 5th Annual New York One-Minute Play Festival: 75 Play. 60+ Playwrights. 40+ Actors. 9 Directors. 1 Minute. With Primary Stages at 59e59 Theatres, in support and benefit of ESPA. Tickets are $20, and available here



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