Ten Minute Play Festival

By Julia Tilden

NEWS Reporter



ith only a few seats open, people scrambled to find a place to sit in the Hale Studio Theater as the lights faded and a recorded voice told the audience, in a litany of theater etiquette, to turn off phones. The lights illuminated the center of the blackbox, where Tommy Sliskovich ’18 and Ava Paul ’18 began the first scene.

This year’s spring Stony Batter production comprised ten, ten-minute scenes with material that was refreshingly un-Shakespearean. Director Laurie Mufson said the idea of a ten-minute play festival came to her 30 years ago when she was working professionally in Washington DC for the Source Theatre Company, where she was working on one-act plays as well as a week of ten-minute plays. Now, 30 years later, Mufson has brought her idea to Mercersburg, shaking things up, and everybody seemed on board with it.

Being a veteran of Shakespeare scenes for two years, Sliskovich admitted he likes doing ten-minute scenes because the characters are more relatable than those of Shakespeare scenes. “Because most of the scenes are contemporary, they have a bit of modernism and not classical lines. In Shakespeare, you have to deal with the deciphering of the language to find the meaning and then make the characters more relevant than they might seem.”

Sliskovich said that his favorite part of the scenes was how close he was to the audience, though it caused some complications at points. “The reactions you get from each line or action shapes are how you need to develop the next moment in order to make a successful scene, but using the wrong tactic at the wrong time could cause a rift in understanding between the actor and the audience. For example, in my scene I had to rapidly eat cheese cubes which was humorous to the audience, but the more I put in would increase the chance I could spew half-chewed cheese onto the floor. Finding the right amount of cheese to make it seem painful is difficult.”

Mufson indicated that Stony Batter will be performing the ten-minutes scenes again next year but after that they will switch off year-by-year with Shakespeare scenes. Asked whether or not they would act in the ten minute scenes, all of the members of the cast gave this reporter a resounding yes.

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