Home > Playwright Posts > Get Out the Knife

Get Out the Knife

Patricia Milton


It has been said that “writing is easy; you just open a vein and bleed.”* If bleeding from veins begets a full-length, then surely from the merest drop of blood a one-minute play might bloom.

Yet I would argue that great hacking, shearing and shredding, in fact, is key to creating such a short piece. That was my experience, anyway.

In a minute’s time, there is no room for side trips, for subplots, lengthy asides, or extraneous dialogue. The one-minute play is theatre carved down to its essence. Everything superfluous is cut away. No scenery, few props — just bodies on a stage holding an audience in thrall. Often at the heart is a single surprise: the unexpected punch line to a joke, perhaps. Or the play may illuminate a mystery, set up over 55 seconds, and then solved in a flash. The audience experiences swift delight, an explosive laugh, a fast “ah-hah!” or “Ohhhhhhhh!” and then it’s on to the next.

The San Francisco playwright community enjoys society in many ways: as part of associations like Dramatists Guild or Playwrights Center of San Francisco, as part of new play organizations like Playwrights Foundation, PlayGround SF, SF Olympians, and others, and as part of for-fun gatherings like the semi-regular Playwrights Pub and Woman’s Will’s monthly get-togethers.

Now, the One-Minute Play Festival joins these community-building groups, to help us bind up our wrists, together, after opening the aforementioned vein.


*Variously attributed to Red Smith, Gene Fowler, Thomas Wolfe, and that most prolific (and recently controversial) of authors, Anonymous.


-Patricia Milton


The Second Annual SF One-Minute Play Festival, in partnership with Playwrights Foundation at Thick House is Sat Dec 17th at 8 PM, and Sun Dec 18th at 2PM and 7PM. 60 Plays. 30+ Playwrights. 20+ Actors. 1 Minute. Tickets are $18 dollars online and available here


Categories: Playwright Posts
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  1. December 16, 2011 at 2:32 pm

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