This weekend, a festival of extremely short plays begins.
Sunday through Tuesday, the “One-Minute Play Festival” presents 90 plays, by 60 playwrights, each just 60-seconds long. You can set them to a timer.
Not all of them are gems, but if you don’t like one — just wait a minute. The next one might be a body-odor comedy or an existential tragedy or sociopolitical agit-prop. A lot can happen in 60 seconds.
“Sometimes, it can be really, really long,” said Dominic D’Andrea, mastermind of the festival. “Sometimes it can be a moment of deep sadness, or a realization, or a point of no return that you can live in for a while. The quality of time can be vastly different depending on how it’s approached.”
D’Andrea, who created the “One-Minute Play Festival” in 2005 in New York, took it national five years ago. He works with host cities to identify regional playwrights to create original content. This is the second year it has been in Philadelphia, co-produced by Interact Theatre in Rittenhouse Square.
Playwrights include Michael Hollinger, Jacqueline Goldfinger, Seth Rozin, Quinn Eli, and many others. The tightly packed, two-hour show uses 10 rotating groups of actors (about 60 in total) to deliver several dozen perspectives on almost every aspect of life.
“The big thing I’m seeing in Philly this year is a big city in transition,” said D’Andrea. “It’s a little big about gentrification, a little about neighborhoods that are changing, a little about socioeconomic realities. There’s a lot of stuff – this is national, too – about technology and the way we communicate and don’t communicate.”
Each of the 90 playlets can be a little joke, a subtle wink, or a tiny cut. In the aggregate, they represent more than you can absorb.
“It’s like your mind is a wall and we’re throwing things against it, and seeing what sticks,” said D’Andrea.