Thursday, June 20, 2013

Post-Show Panel Discussion Opens Up All of Heartland's "Packages"

I've mentioned a few times that I am working on Heartland's annual 10-Minute Play Festival again this summer, and in fact, I am a bit more up close and personal with the production side of it than in recent years, since this year, I am acting again. With two weeks of performances finished, the cast and crew will begin the second half of the run tonight at 7:30 pm, opening up the eight winning Package Plays (all written to include some sort of package or parcel, which I will detail for you in a moment) for two more weekends and eight more performances.

Every year, we give playwrights a topic -- sometimes a place or location, like the back porch and the coffeeshop in past years, and sometimes a more general concept, like "One Shoe" or this year's "Package, Parcel or Present" -- and then we sit back and wait to see how that fires the playwriting imagination. I'm not going to give away everything (you'll need to come to the panel discussion to hear the whole list) but I will tell you that we saw a lot of spies and a lot of ashes this time out. Why did the notion of a package conjure up ideas of spies and cremains for playwrights? Something in the zeitgeist, I suspect. (It wasn't in the water. We got 0 water plays. I'm sure 17 Ashes, 0 Water says something...)

And this weekend, after the 2 pm Sunday matinee, we will undertake the annual panel discussion reflecting on the process of reading and evaluating this year's ten-minute plays. First-round judges Ron Emmons, Holly Rocke and Todd Wineburner and I will discuss what we did and how we did it with the 302 short plays submitted this year, and also offer some insight into what kinds of plays we saw this time out. In other words, if you attend this year's Festival, you will see before you eight little plays that survived three rounds of judging, a host of different opinions, frequently a request for reformatting or revision, and sometimes even a spirited argument or two.

In any event, you have eight chances left to see all the parcels, bags and briefcases for yourself. Click here for performance dates and times and here to read more about Heartland Theatre's 10-Minute Plays.

To get you started, here are the eight plays presented this year and the package(s) each brings to the stage. (Please note that the images below are merely representative and not the exact items you'll see on stage.)

A shopping bag.

A shoebox.

DO NOT OPEN by Candace Perry
A large Fed Ex box.

MINCED SPIES by Doc Watson
A small parcel hidden inside a newspaper.

THE CHEESECAKE PLAY by John Frusciante
A Junior's Cheesecake shipping container.

A MILLION TIMES OVER by Molly Campbell
A ring box, a hat box, and several other boxes of varying sizes.

LAST CALL by James McLindon
A bowling bag.

A briefcase. Or maybe more than one briefcase. And maybe a purple rhinoceros. Or maybe not.

If you've already seen the plays, this should be a handy refresher. If you haven't, you can ponder what exactly is happening with each of these and then come out to Heartland to see if you're right.

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