2 posts categorized "Short plays" Feed

Old Vic 24-hour plays - Sex guides, Star Wars and a dog on stage

IMGP3736I'm writing this on barely five hours sleep (damn body clock doesn't understand late night means late sleep) although I imagine I'm in better shape than those who actually wrote, produced, performed and partied hard late into night after the annual Old Vic fund raiser, the 24-hour plays.

For those who have never been or are unfamiliar and I counted myself as being one of them until last night, what happens is this. After Saturday evening's performance at the Old Vic, a group of volunteer writers, directors and actors meet for the first time.

The actors have to come armed with a prop which goes into a pool. Last night's included a plastic heron, spider-man costume, a button that said 'that was easy' when pressed and someones pet dog. A real dog. 

The six writers are then ferried off to a hotel where they fight over choose the actors they want before cracking on with writing a 10 minute play. At 8am with their freshly composed scripts are prized out of their hands and it's the directors turn to choose which script they want to work with.

Then the actors arrive and the day is spent producing and rehearsing ready for curtain up in front of a paying audience at 7.30pm. Each of the six plays has only 20 minutes tech time on stage. And, just to make things more complicated, they have to work around and within the restrictions imposed by the existing set, for the current production at the Old Vic, in this case The Playboy of the Western World.

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Budding playwrights showcase short plays

5663379590_d44576c45f Went to the First Draft April Showers festival this week at the Horse Pub near Waterloo. It's a great idea: aspiring playwrights get a chance to have their short plays performed by real actors in front of a paying audience.

The call for submissions elicited more than 350 responses which were whittled down to 16 for staged readings. Then, based on the audiences and creatives response, seven were chosen for the festival running in blocks of four and three in Rep as part of the festival.

And that's what I saw on Wednesday night, four of the chosen plays (with Caryll Churchill who also in the audience apparently):

Your Female Companion by Catie O'Keefe

This was part of a longer piece, which was never finished, examining gender identities. It was my least favourite of the four revolving around a group of woman each displaying various female stereotypes. One scoffed chocolate, one obsessed about make up and they all cooed about the one who had a baby for example.

Then one reveals a sexual fantasy in which she is tied up and dominated but was quickly ejected from the group. Throughout they were inexplicably homophobic.

It was nicely executed with each character walking on and putting on a pair of red shoes before sitting on one of a row of high stools but overall I'm not sure what the point was or what I was supposed to make of this exaggerated and unflattering view of women. Perhaps the wider piece would have explained.

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