Poison, cockroaches and Neanderthals discovering fire will be among the subjects explored in 10 minutes during a short play festival in Seoul.
They will be part of Seoul Players’ Ten Minute Play Festival, which runs for two weekends starting Friday.
The festival, now in its fifth year, will feature 16 plays chosen from over 200 submissions from Korea and overseas.
Festival coproducer Sarah Grover said that whittling them down was tough, but she was impressed by the local submissions, four of which made the cut.
“I think the writing community has grown a lot more, so there’s more people taking chances,” she said. “So we have more of an opportunity to facilitate local plays.”
She was also pleased to see a more unconventional set of plays this year.
“Last year we had a lot of good plays that were more regular dramas. I think this year we have a lot that are a little quirkier.”
The festival usually has a good number of comedies, as these tend to be a hit with the audience.
Chris Zaczek and Barri Tsavaris perform in “Self Preservation” in Seoul Players’ Ten Minute Play Festival last year. (Edgebrook Images)
Last year’s winner was “New Year’s Eve,” a poignant but humorous look at aging, with comedy “The Gordon Game” and comic Cinderella reworking “Family Business” claiming the runners-up spots.
But Grover said the festival had an edgier feel to it this year.
“We didn’t try to stick to any one genre. This year I feel like we have a good few dark comedies that I don’t think would have made it last year, and some dark dramas, too,” said Grover.
“A lot of our writers were writing about darker things, they have darker influences in terms of what’s in the media and the things that we are seeing around us.”
While some submissions were rejected because they demanded too much in terms of scene changes and other technical demands, Grover said this year’s troupe has upped its game in terms of technical provisions.
“This year will be a little bit more involved in terms of props and sets and sounds, so it will be a little bit more pleasing to the eye, I think,” she said.
The plays will be performed over two nights on Friday and Saturday, with an audience vote deciding which four from each night will go through to the final.
The last round will be held the following Saturday and judged by a panel. Prizes will go to the best directors, actors and playwrights.
The shows will be held at 9 p.m. on Friday and 8 p.m. on Saturday at the Arts Tree Theatre in Guro, Seoul. The finals will be at 8 p.m. on Nov. 21 at the same venue.
Tickets for all shows are 15,000 won ($13). Email email@example.com for reservations and inquiries.
By Paul Kerry (firstname.lastname@example.org)