Eight plays each lasting 10 minutes. That’s a heap of theater variety. It gets better. You can watch all eight plays for $10. That’s a no-nonsense bargain.
Weathervane Playhouse, a Knight Arts grantee, will be holding its 2nd annual “8 x 10 Theatrefest” this weekend.
The key to the whole thing, according to Eileen Moushey, the festival organizer, is that playwrights were asked to construct a short play with very few rules — keep it within 10 minutes, use a vintage microphone as a key prop, and limit the action to three actors or fewer. Otherwise, production considerations could go way over the top, I’d imagine.
Weathervane Playhouse received 150 entrants, and narrowed that number down through readings done by local present and past theater critics and reviewers to the eight that will comprise the festival.
All eight plays will be put on three times over three days, and three awards will be presented. The critics will select 1st and 2nd place winners (for $350 and $250 cash prizes respectively) while audience ballots will be amassed and counted after the final production for an “audience favorite” award of $150 (which may or may not be one of the critical choices).
How do you put on eight plays back-to-back and not only handle it efficiently but make sense of it all for the audience? It’s a snap apparently. Sets are kept to a minimum and will be stored upstage and dragged downstage between plays. Projected images on the front wall will announce the next entry for the audience so members aren’t trying to peer through the dark to figure out what’s next on the agenda (and to remember the name for voting later). And actors are plentiful, so costume changes and that sort of activity will be quick. Some actors appear in more than one play, but through auditions there lots available so that involvement would be widespread in this festival.
Of the playwrights in contention, only one is an area writer — Christina Blosco.
Blosco’s play, “Waiting for Baby,” is “the product of what seemed like two straight years of sitting in waiting rooms and treading the sometimes comical deluge of literature, products, advice, “research’ and pressures that overwhelm the modern mom.”
Other writers come from around the country — New York City (Barbara Bleier and Allston James) and New York state (Joe Lauinger of Ossining); California (James Caputo of San Diego and Patricia Cotter of San Francisco); Maine (Maureen Ann Connolly of Cumberland Foreside); and Texas (Lina Gallegos of Dallas). All except Blosco are members of the Dramatists Guild of America.
Storylines really play on the microphone idea — from bingo parlors, hospital waiting rooms, stand-up comedy acts and more.
8 x 10 Theatrefest at Weathervane Playhouse, 1301 Weathervane Lane, Akron; 330-836-2626; www.weathervaneplayhouse.com. 8 x 10 Theatrefest runs Fri.-Sun., July 13-15. Admission is $10.