Theatre UAB’s Festival of 10-Minute Plays will take the stage for the 13th consecutive year, beginning with a matinee performance March 13.
The College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Theatre at the University of Alabama at Birmingham developed the enormously popular annual festival, which each year features new, super-short plays that are smart, edgy, shrewd, shocking and often hilarious. It’s a night of theater the audience discusses long after the curtain drops.
This marks the “lucky 13th” year of original plays written, directed and acted by the department’s own students, staff and faculty. That’s right: The 13th festival starts on the 13th. Good thing theater people aren’t superstitious, says festival producer and Assistant Professor of Theatre Lee Shackleford.
These festivals showcase new and original works, and this time there are seven. Current Department of Theatre majors wrote four of the plays: “Nine Months,” “Don’t Hold Your Breath,” “To Just BE” and “Most Likely.” The other three were written by department alumni: “Corpus Crispy,” “Ad Infinitum” and “39 Years of Peach Cobbler.”
Theatre UAB’s 13th annual Festival of 10-Minute Plays will begin with the 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, March 13, and continue at 7:30 p.m. nightly March 14-17, in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, Odess Theatre, 1200 10th Ave. South. These plays often contain strong adult language and themes. All tickets are $5; arrive early, as shows nearly always sell out. Call 205-934-3236 or visit the department online at www.uab.edu/cas/theatre.
Shackleford teaches several scriptwriting classes, and each year the process begins when his students learn the art and craft of writing super-short comedies and dramas. A 10-minute play is not a skit or a scene, he says; it must have everything that a longer play has, but without the luxury of time.
“In the 13 years we have presented this festival, we’ve produced more than 100 original plays,” Shackleford said. “It’s amazing to think that more than 100 new plays have been written and presented by our students, faculty and staff. I doubt many university theater programs can make that claim. But then, we’ve always been known for doing things other college programs don’t.”
“Most Likely” by Felix Crutcher takes the audience to a high school class’s 10th reunion, where memories, repressed and recovered, have powerful consequences.
“Ad Infinitum” by Scottye Moore asks what living for eternity is really like.
“To Just BE” by Kenya Mims explores the value judgments everyone makes about race, gender, religion, economic status and more.
“39 Years of Peach Cobbler” by Stephen Webb is a dark comedy about regret, commitment and suicide.
“Nine Months” by Daisean Garret pits three potential “baby daddies” against one another.
“Don’t Hold Your Breath” by Mark Nelson draws an unlikely pair together and presents them with one of life’s greatest temptations: escape.
“Corpus Crispy” is a typical play by Daniel Martin in the sense that absurd people get ridiculous notions in their heads and commit to them, heart and soul.
The productions are directed by students Bliss Bailey, Holly Morgan and Kristen Ciancio, and by Theatre UAB faculty/staff members Shackleford and Mel Christian. Student Rachel Walsh is the festival’s stage manager.
Cast members include Joshua Benjamin, Noah Duffy, Brady Grimm, Marissa Hebson, Alex Ingram, Chelsea Jackson, John Kennedy, Kenya Mims, Chance Novalis, Carla Smith, Blake Tanner and Spencer Webb.