Short and Sweet: The Ten-Minute Play Festival

This story was originally published in the April 20 issue of Fourth Estate.

Asher Ackman, staff writer

For the ninth year in a row, Mason will be hosting its annual Ten-Minute Play Festival. For those of you who might not know, a ten minute play is just what it sounds like, “a play that runs for ten minutes from start to finish,” says Brianna St. Clair, the stage director for this year’s ten minute play festival. There will be eight plays in total this year.

The Lost, by Nerissa Heart, is being directed by Jessica Dubish. The Lost is a play about The Lost Boys of Neverland in their world and the new girl who invades it. Heart, a senior theatre major, says that the play “partially sprang from needing ten pages for a playwriting class assignment and partially from my love of reading and creating theories about preexisting stories.”

Nerd Love, by Katie Lewis, is being directed by Nathan Vasquez. Nerd Love is about a pair of nerds who are on dates with people who are non-nerds. Things are naturally a little awkward at first, but the couples find they have a lot more in common than they seemed to at first. Lewis, a graduate from George Mason University, says that she “was inspired by the play Check Please by Jonathan Rand. It was one of the few plays I had acted in at high school, and I loved the concept. Also, I’m a major nerd, and I believe nerd love is the sweetest and truest love there is.”

The Happy Meal, by Zachary Wilcox, is being directed by Matt Succi. This kinda sorta (not really) true story is about an unfortunate McDonalds employee, an unsuspecting off duty cop, and a young girl who just wants her “Adventure Time” toy. When she gets a baggie of heroin through the drive-through window, this crazy world devolves into chaos. Wilcox, a senior Theater major, says that this play came about from “an assignment that required us to write a short scene based upon some sort of news article. I found the news article about the real “Heroin McDonalds” which was absolutely hilariously written .  Some of my dialogue was even adapted directly from the parody article. I wrote a very early draft of this play for the assignment and I’ve been slowly working on it ever since!”

The Bone Crane, by John “Waffles” Morgan, is being directed by Alex Galloway. Years after a tragedy befalls Kelsey, she is forced to relive the strange events that transpired in the home of a local veterinarian alongside her best friend, Dog.  “As a life-long lover of cosmic horror (especially the works of H.P. Lovecraft), when I am scared, I want to find out why and express it as best as I can. Which is what the main inspiration for The Bone Crane is, the strange absurdity of a universe that frightens me to my very core whenever I forget for a minute to be in awe of its intricate beauty,” said Morgan, a sophomore Theater major and Game Design minor.

Arachnophobia, by Leanda Hinegardner, is being directed by Ben Ribler. In it, two spiders discuss their love lives. They also talk about their penises. “Arachnophobia was inspired by my own encounter with a spider. In short, I tried to squish it – it ran away. That night, as I lay awake thinking about the eight-legged menace, I came up with this play,” said Hinegardner, a sophomore Theater major and English minor.

She Always Comes Home, by Janice Majewski, is being directed by Emily Gruver. This is a play about presence, loss and holding on; perhaps for too long.  A mother, whose daughter has been missing for fifteen years, holds on to the past, but at what cost?  “She Always Comes Home came about from an assignment in Heather McDonald’s playwriting course last semester. It began as two photos–one of a dilapidated home in the countryside, raised and ready for removal; the other of a tattered child’s dress hanging alone on a clothesline. In trying to link these two images together, the world of the play necessarily became one in which not everything is there. From there the story became a haiku and eventually transformed into a ten page script,” said Majewski, pursuing a BFA in Poetry.

The Masquerade Is Over, by Alex Galloway, is being directed by Madison Landis. The Masquerade is Over tracks a couple’s relationship from their first meeting to their last. “Self-interest can be a dangerous thing.  It can be a poison in almost any field, from work to relationships.  The Masquerade is Over explores the dangers of ego and selfishness,” said Galloway, a senior Film and Video Studies major.

Here’s Your Crown, by Andrew Reid, is being directed by Kathleen Barth. Here’s Your Crown follows the story of a father and his daughter through varying stages of their life. As a single father, he attempts to be a positive influence and beacon of hope for his daughter. This is a tale of memory and remembrance.  “The inspiration for this play came from two places. The first being a song, Remember Us by The Hunts, which creates an atmosphere of longing. It is soft and contains a magical quality. The kind of song you’d hear in the backdrop during a montage of two people’s life story. The second being a friend, who recently lost a loved one. Listening to their stories and seeing the display of nostalgia struck a cord which ended up producing Here’s Your Crown,” said Reid, a senior Theater major.

The Ten Minute Play Festival is at Theaterspace April 24 at 8 p.m. and April 25 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.