Ten minutes plays show the new way
Today’s world is that of Facebook, twitter, internet and mobiles. Each person is on the go racing against time and in a rush to get things done within minutes. The same is reflected in theater today as the format of long drawn three act plays has come a long way into something short, sweet and fun of 10 minutes. My latest experience was in this kind of format as my company was short listed for the short and sweet theater festival, a part of the global phenomenon of theater today. I struggled endlessly to unravel the mysteries of getting a play bang on correct in 10 minutes and discovered that the enigma is that anything can work and yet nothing can work. What I discovered through this complicated process over the last two months is that the audiences want to see something that catches their imagination within minutes whether it is a stand- up comedy, a musical on something as trivial as flossing ones teeth , a video and audio extravaganza with light hearted acting or something quite as serious as shades of grief in death. While I saw young adults enjoying every bit of their 10 minutes I sensed the tension in the older generation who did not quite understand the mechanics of something as fast paced as this. I was told jokingly by one of my younger colleagues, “ you are in the T-20 of theater , this is going to be next stepping stone in theater .” Yes, young man you are right this is the need of the day to be fast paced bang on correct since the time for frivolities are long gone even in theater.
I do not wish to under estimate the two act or one act plays but I also do not want to be dismissive of the 10 minute format as each one has its own beauty and charm. While the involvement of the audiences can be slowly built upon by the 45 minutes or one and half hour performance, the 10 minute shows are pivotal to understand as they help the director to understand the nuances of fast paced scripts and also the mechanics of writing one. In retrospect despite the back breaking work and endless hours spent on trying to understand how to make it work I truly feel that one should not throw away this format as it has a high value of today’s youth and generation. It has immense potentials and a long innings ahead.