GSU’s 10th Annual 10-Minute Play Festival Returns

Rachel Kelso

It’s theatre like you’ve never seen before. There is no line memorization and no censorship, but there is a time limit: only ten minutes.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Georgia Southern’s Annual 10-Minute Play Festival, held by the Theatre and Performance program. The festival is composed of plays written, directed and acted by students themselves.

“It’s a way to get student playwrights an opportunity to get their work work-shopped and presented to an audience,” Lisa Abbott, associate professor of theatre, said. As the festival’s coordinator, she explained that the festival is all about the playwrights’ expressing their thoughts, emotions and creativity.

Professional playwrights, alumni and non-theatre faculty members rank each play that is submitted. Each play must meet certain criteria in order to be accepted, which usually amounts to approximately four to 10 plays. Throughout its 10 years of existence, the festival has had a spike in the number of plays being submitted as well as a rise in students’ writing skills.

This year’s festival will have five performances that are concert-style readings, meaning that the actors have their scripts in hand during the performance. The plays must first go through an extensive workshop process facilitated by Abbott, which give playwrights the opportunity to hear their play read back and make necessary changes to the dialogue as needed. “The stories are only told through dialogue,” Abbot said. “This is a really important part of their process as an artist.”

Each of the plays vary in genre, cast size and student experience. “Being on the other side of the script is a great thing,” Khadijah Carter, senior communications studies major and playwright, said. This is Carter’s first time writing a play instead of acting in one, but participating in the festival has given her more confidence and has inspired her to pursue more writing.

Carter’s play, “Acquittal of Silence,” provides a different perspective of the Los Angeles riots in the early 1990s. It has 12 cast members and takes place inside the court room of the Rodney King trial. Carter has taken real transcripts from the hearing and used them in her play.

“My play is about the silence of the protestors and the rioters,” Carter said. “I really wanted to give a voice to the rioters and the people who you usually wouldn’t see, because sometimes the media can only show one side.”

Other plays have much smaller casts, such as “Be Mine,” a story of a girl’s crush on her closeted gay friend. “I found that having a smaller play gets to the heart of the story faster,” Samantha Harvey, senior writing and linguistics major and playwright, said.

“Sam Harvey is one of my best friends, so I’m pretty excited to be able to bring her hard work to life,”Annaliyah Ferguson-Salim, junior theatre major and director, said. This is Ferguson-Salim’s first attempt at directing, since she also is typically acting onstage. Now she been able to see a new side of conveying a play’s message. “As an actor you have tunnel vision,” Salim said. “As a director you need to have an omniscient eye over everything, designers and actors alike.”

Two plays this year were submitted by alumni, one being Brock Vickers, the current marketing manager of Hedgerow Theatre Company in Rose Valley, Pa. and who is no stranger to the ten-minute plays during his time at GSU. His play, “Blood on the Knockers,” is a farce with bits of mystery and comedy thrown in the mix. “This is the kind of play I enjoy seeing on-stage: fast-paced, nonsensical, and a fun ten minutes,” Vickers said.

“Plays are meant to be seen and meant to be played, so when Lisa asked alumni to submit I had a play ready for her in a couple of days,” Vickers said. “I also really wanted to write something that my 22-year-old self would have loved to read when I was in college.”

The festival will be held on April 15 at 7:30 p.m. in Sanford Hall, room 1002. Audience members will be asked to participate in constructive discussions at the end of the festivals for feedback and reviews.