A whole play. A whole play? In one minute.
Are you kidding me? You want me to write a what? A one-minute play. A whole play. A whole play? In one minute. One. Geez Louise! Now ten-minute plays…ten-minute plays are short enough. Aren’t they? But now you’re telling me that there are one-minute plays out there in the world and that you want me to write one? Oh wait – not one, but two. Okay…
While I tend to be a good sport about almost everything – and was intrigued by the notion of such a sliver of a play – I admit that was kind of what went through my brain when I was asked to contribute a play to OMPF. It wasn’t that I wasn’t honored to be asked or didn’t think it could be fun. It’s just…what can you really say onstage in one minute? That doesn’t seem like a whole lot of time. Because it’s not! And then I started to think that maybe I was just <gulp> scared to write a one-minute play. Because I’d never done it before. Figuring that out was key, because you know I’m not gonna be a weenie, y’all.
So I read through a bunch of posts on the OMPF blog, written by people who have walked this path before, searching for that one bit of wisdom that would make things click for me. A starter. Something to get me going. The breakthrough was a post that encouraged playwrights to think of these tiny plays as part of a continuum – a single, brief stop on a much, much larger timeline. Now that I got.
I thought about some of the longer plays I’ve written, and what could be learned about the people in them in the space of some of their specific, isolated moments. Not every moment yields stunning revelations, of course, but some…and that’s when it hit me: One-minute plays are those moments, fractions of a larger picture. Not the entire story, to be sure…but maybe there was a lot more to be learned by considering a minute of action than I had believed in that initial knee-jerk response. I had my starter.
And all this made me remember something else.
I was once pretty skeptical of the ten-minute form too, but now I love them. LOVE. So much so that after sitting through the entire ten hours of the Boston Theater Marathon last year, I can’t imagine experiencing that Festival piecemeal again. What was so incredible that day was knowing that the plays I was watching were our community’s unique stories – written by us, performed by (and for) us. Together, the pieces formed a mosaic that was moving in a way that a single play by a single author can’t be.
I can’t wait!
-K. Alexa Mavromatis
The First Boston One-Minute Play Festival will take place Jan 7-9, 2012 in partnership with Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. 70 new plays by 35+ Boston and New England Playwrights. For tickets and info, click here.