Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Packing Urgency and a Story into 10-Minute Plays: “Winter Stars” by Sonia Barkat

Sometime in the past six years, I began to read contemporary plays. It may have started with a play we saw at the Hampstead Theatre in London, a dramatic comedy entitled Seminar written by Theresa Rebeck. (The attraction was actor Roger Allam, who plays the young Inspector Morse’s boss in the Masterpiece Mystery series Endeavour.) It’s a play about writing, writers, and academic egos. The script was for sale in the theatre lobby, and on a whim, I bought it to read later. 

I enjoyed the script so much that I started reading others. Three years later, I read The Ferryman by Jez Butterworth, about “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland, but this time before I saw the play. And I was glad I did – the thick Irish accents by the actors could at times confuse my American ears, but I knew the story. It helped – a lot. A more recent play where reading the script also helps is Will Arbery’s Heroes of the Fourth Turning

Winter Stars by new playwright and writer Sonia Barkat is subtitled “Three 10-Minute Plays from Tragedy to Fantasy to Comedy.” I’m familiar with one-act plays, but initial reaction was only 10 minutes? As it turns out, that reaction reflects my own lack of knowledge; the 10-minute play is its own theatre sub-genre and even has web sites with catalogs of scripts, how they’re structured and written, how to produce them, and other resources. 

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

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