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LIVING & DYING IN THE ONE-MINUTE PLAY

Daryl Lisa Fazio

LIVING & DYING IN THE ONE-MINUTE PLAY

 

If you can do it in 100 years, you can do it in a minute. Living and dying. Being alive. Being not-alive. We’re doing it all the time.

And I’d argue that the Minute version gives you a lot more bang for your buck. It’s where exposition vaporizes, and all we’re left with is the essence of what it is to be.

At this first-ever Atlanta One-Minute Play Festival, I’ll be playing both sides of the fence, as both a writer and an actor. And I wonder: how will time, life and death feel different between the two?

Let’s break it down.

 

The Writer’s Minute

Characters are always moving toward something (that’s living), even if it’s toward the choice to do nothing (maybe that’s dying). The one-minute play is that moment where states of being collide. It’s the crash into the wall at the Daytona 500, the casket going into the hearse, the bride and groom bursting through the church doors and into the sun. It’s the realization that one’s invisible or brave or alone or in love. It’s the first confrontation or the very last time you’ll ever speak. It’s deciding not to have the same argument with your spouse or take the same route to work or have the same response to that homeless guy who always asks for change.

I wrote two plays that, I realized after the fact, both mention death in the literal sense. Clearly, it’s on my mind. And we won’t get into that unless you’re going to give me a couch to lie down on.

But the plays are, perhaps more significantly, about being aware. And in that tiny little minute, as human beings bump into each other and spin away, there manages to be life (eg. I just realized you’re a terrible friend OR I just chose to speak to somebody I could have more easily ignored) and death (eg. I’m never going to look up from this iPhone and see people OR I’m going to let stereotypes control my human interaction). And both exist in such a concentrated form that it just takes a drop.

More than 60 seconds would be too many.

 

The Actor’s Minute

This part is sheer adrenaline, like being dropped from an airplane and parachuting into the middle of a carnival—a carnival full of games you can play for only a minute.

At each booth, you have to have a different persona that is utterly convincing and honest, or you just keep playing that same game over and over and over. That’s the only rule they tell you, the only clues you get. The rest you enthusiastically scurry to put together from the things you find on the ground—trash, ephemera, lost engagement rings, small children.

I don’t know what to expect from the festival itself—all those one-minutes, all those people (over 70, I’m told), all those light cues, all those many ways to use four chairs. But I can picture the whole lot of us—writers, actors and directors—together at the end of it, exhausted, breathless and very much alive.

 

Daryl Lisa Fazio

 

The First Atlanta One-Minute Play Festival in partnership with Actor’s Express will take place Sunday June 10th and Monday June 11th at 8PM. Tickets are $20 and available here. The Monday June 10th Performance will be livestreamed on New Play TV. 

 

 

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