Friday, August 17, 2012

Playwrights, start your laptops

Jim Jackson took some time during this month's meeting to let us know about Four Play. This showcase of four short plays is returning in September, and Jim encouraged the writers of the Drama Lab to submit.

This is a wonderful opportunity for local playwrights to get produced. Last year, the MAT received 17 submissions and produced--you got it--four. That might seem like tough odds, but most 10-minute festivals get 300+ submissions and produce only 10. So this contest is well worth the effort.

All sscripts must include the prompts that will be announced at the MAT (1367 Pecan St.) and on their web site at 5pm on Friday, September 14. The deadline is 1pm on Sunday, September 16, giving the playwrights a scant 44 hours to complete their plays. (I talked to one of the winning playwrights from last year, and he told me he cranked out his script in one 6-hour binge on Saturday night.)

Jim did offer one piece of advice to help contestants improve their chances. It's all about producability. You may write the cleverest, most amazing play in the world, but if it's hard to produce, it's not going to be selected. The MAT puts these plays together in just a week, so there can't be any unreasonable technical challenges in terms of sets, costumes or special effects.

There's no strict length limit, but pieces should be around 10 to 20 minutes. And stay away from those casts of thousands. Three to six actors seems to work best.

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