Stage & Dance

Ten-Minute Play Festival offers a lot of theater in a little time

10-minute plays, explained in 10 seconds

Studio Players presents its annual 10 Minute Play Festival July 28-31, 2016 at the Carriage House Theatre on Bell Court in Lexington, Kentucky. We had actors from each of the seven 10-minute plays in the festival explain their shows in 10 seconds
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Studio Players presents its annual 10 Minute Play Festival July 28-31, 2016 at the Carriage House Theatre on Bell Court in Lexington, Kentucky. We had actors from each of the seven 10-minute plays in the festival explain their shows in 10 seconds

Beginning Thursday night, Lexington will get to see a little bit of everything in a short time, as Studio Players hosts its third annual 10-Minute Play Festival.

Featuring seven unique and short stories, the plays cover a variety of genres, said Bob Singleton, the festival’s producer and a Studio Players board member.

“A lot of comedies; some of them are a little zany, a little absurd. Some of them are a little serious and some of them are a little poignant.”

So attending the festival is a little adventurous, Singleton said, because the plays can be somewhat unexpected, but each play is a “good, fully realized play.”

He began experimenting with 10-minute plays a few years ago. Fellow Studio Players board member Jim Betts finished a play-writing class at the University of Kentucky and began putting together a 10-minute play festival in Midway. Betts invited Singleton to direct one of the plays. Singleton said he became a producer and eventually he, Betts and others held a 10-minute play festival in the Thoroughbred Community Theater for several years.

The 10-minute play festival in Midway paused for a few years. Then in 2014, Studio Players agreed to support the festival, Singleton said.

“We haven’t really changed too much to it in the course of a few years, really just in how we narrow down the final choices on scripts, make a final decision and hopefully get scripts to the directors that they are interested in doing as well,” Singleton said.

The group picks seven plays from submitted scripts. He said 400 to 500 scripts were submitted for this year’s festival, but the group considers only the first 150. He said submissions come from all over the world.

Each of five judges are given 30 of the 150 considered scripts, Singleton said. Judges read the scripts, and actors read aloud the plays as both an informal audition process and to let judges hear the plays. Each judge picks five finalists, directors also pick three plays, and others who attend the readings give feedback..

“We try to find a balance of the material, you know, not necessarily everything going in one direction too much,” Singleton said.

whole process takes place on-and-off again for almost five months. Once the seven plays are chosen, directors are then chosen, and Studio Players helps the directors get in contact with the actors.

The producers and directors consider each play’s plot and how an audience will respond. They evaluate needs and many other factors when choosing plays. Singleton said even some of his favorites didn’t make the cut, but he hopes they will get the chance to be seen at another festival.

Ten-minute plays were created at Actors Theatre of Louisville in the early days of the Humana Festival of New American Plays. The format has since been picked up by theaters around the country, usually in groups such as Studio Players’ festival. Singleton said some submissions, and some of the chosen plays, have been performed at other festivals.

“It’s something different and it’s something fun,” Singleton said. “And it’s a good, quality, entertaining distraction, and that’s not a bad thing to have right about now.”

McKenna Horsley: 859-231-3197, @mckennahorsley.

If you go

10 Minute Play Festival

The plays:

▪  “Sandbox,” written by Scott Mullen, directed by Jenny Christian

▪  “After the Darkness,” written by Joe Starzyk, directed by Patrick J. Mitchell

▪  “The Third Person,” written by Dan Borengasser, directed by Carly Moreno

▪  “Scrambled,” written by Brett Hursey, directed by Jeremy Kisling

▪  “Things That Mattered,” written by Elin Hampton, directed by Mark Smith

▪  “The Ballad of Tom and Jerry,” written by Liam Kuhn, directed by Sam Jenkins

▪  “Press Pray,” written by Seth Freeman, directed by Ryan Case

When: 8 p.m. July 28-30, 2:30 p.m. July 31

Where: Carriage House Theatre, 154 W. Bell Court

Tickets: $15 at the door, box office opens one-hour before showtime

Online: Studioplayers.org

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