If one story line isn't enough to hold your attention at the theater, how about seven stories in one night? Studio Players of Lexington this weekend presents the "Ten Minute Play Festival" at the Carriage House. One play examines differing views about one particular marriage ceremony.
The play "He Won't Marry Me" will be the closing act for the Ten Minute Play Festival. Merrideth Crutcher plays the bride-to-be. "He won't marry me is about a bride who has some very specific requests,” said Crutcher
"He won't marry me, he kicked me out. That's the third one this week. What do you mean, was it something I said. Well he started going all nuts on me and all I asked him was, 'Do those benches move?'
"Those wooden benches, because right now you don't have a center aisle."
Then there's the perspective of the minister, played by Chris Rose. "I play a minister at a church that she has wandered into to see if this will be the appropriate place for her to get married," said Rose.
"A marriage is a sacrament…whatever…some things should not be interrupted by flashes….they don't have to flash….or whirls or clicks, no cameras. What about cell phones?..I mean you can't ban people from holding..I'll stop the service if they do…well aren't you the tough little nut."
Rose says although presenting multiple stories allows for less rehearsal time for each individual play, he likes the ten minute format. He says the key to a successfully pulling off a short production is to grab the audience's attention immediately and hold it. "It is a challenge as an actor to be sure that we come out of the gate running. We don't have time to lose you because we're not gonna get you back. If we lose you in that first couple of minutes, you're gone for the next seven or eight, so it is a challenge. We've got to be on our game right from the first second," said Rose.
Crutcher says she likes the format because it gives actors more time to focus on details. "We've been able to have, you know, fewer rehearsals, but they've been good. It's an intimate process with just Chris, Jeremy, and I. So, we get to spend a lot of time in developing our characters," said Crutcher.
Jeremy Kisling is director of He Won't Marry Me. Kisling is also the Associate Artistic Director at the Lexington Children's Theater. He says when working with such a short amount of time, it's important that the play doesn't come off as one note. "We want to find the roller coaster in the story and making sure that there's moments of quiet, moments of laughter, and moments of anger, and really looking at mining all those emotions out of a ten minute piece," explained Kisling.
Jim Betts is the producer of the ten minute play festival, and director of one of the plays. Betts says given the brevity of the material, the plays are not set heavy. "When we first started doing this, I said you can do any ten minute play with two chairs and a table,” said Betts.
Betts says the plays performed during the festival were selected from over 150 submissions. This week, the actors from all seven plays will rehearse the entire production for the first time. Betts says that keeps it fresh for the performers, which hopefully carries over onto the stage. The Ten Minute Play Festival kicks off this Friday night at the Carriage House.