On Saturday night, April 2, Johnpaul and I had the pleasure of watching our two original 3-minute plays performed in front of a packed house at the Playslam sponsored by the Cary Playwrights’ Forum and the Cary Theater. With only 15 minutes of practice allowed per play, Johnpaul did a superb job directing the actors—in a dressing room not much bigger than my closet, no less!
While our first play, “Old Habits Die Hard” didn’t score the votes needed to advance to the second round, both actors did a great job with a rather complex script—the story of an accountant running into his former lover (a pickpocket turned mime) in a Philadelphia park. See the picture below featuring actors Sean Wellington and Emily Rose White.
The good news is that all the plays of the runners-up were still performed, and interestingly, to our delight, our second round play, the dark comedy “The Suicide You Prevent May Be Your Own” appeared to garner a more positive reaction from the crowd. In this play, a probationary suicide prevention hotline operator receives a call from a man who thinks he’s calling a local pizza parlor. See the picture below of Sean and Michelle Corbitt, who portrayed the increasing hysteria of the hotline operator with panache.
We met some terrific new people, particularly Thom Haynes, impresario and producer of the night’s event and Sean Wellington, the male lead featured in both of our plays and who magically performed in two more himself. A veteran of this increasingly popular format, Sean’s insights and instincts were invaluable. In addition, two very dear and long-term friends of mine (Sherri Creech Johnson and Peggy Levine) came to support us, and it was wonderful to see them there!
The experience was golden in terms of lessons learned, which are too countless to list here. (See Johnpaul pictured above, second from the right). The bottom line is that with a dramatic format limited to just 3 minutes, you have to grab your audience quickly and comedy appears to be the shortest route. And in the end, the most memorable plays seem to have a mixture of both pathos and comedy.
Have we given up? Of course not. In fact, we’re more obsessed than ever. What better way to build community than live performances of the human experience? We’re already plotting ahead!