SHORT & SWEET 2013 Week One

Here we are back at ‘Short & Sweet’ and I’m reminded of all the best and worst things in these 10 minute plays in what is dubbed ‘the biggest little play festival in the world’.

So let me quickly address the worst of it. To those plays that are so obvious that the onion has been peeled, lying exposed and wilted on the floor, no layers, no subtlety, no nuance, I say the following: thanks for knowing your lines, getting your cues right, for your commitment, your energy and bringing your family and friends to the theatre to support you. Good on you. Thanks for turning up and giving it a red hot go.

To the rest I say this:

Kerry Bowden’s ‘Handyman’, directed by Stephen Wallace and performed by Emily Kivilcin showed the makings of something more. Just a little work on mastering the psychological shifts of the ending and this one will go off.

Mathivanan Rajendran’s ‘My Name is Cine-Ma’, the Chennai, Mumbai and KL winner and performed by Pooja Balu, Venkatesh Harinathan and Ajay Ayyappan has great energy and passion. The trio of performers are certainly dynamic but I don’t know whether it was originally performed in English but there is a lack of control in timing and delivery that affects its coherence so once they iron this out, it could also be a contender.

‘G’, Miranda Drake’s piece, has an honesty and realness about it that makes you forgive its lack of sophistication, Robert Sharpe’s ‘Do Not Disturb’ and Phillip Gallop’s ‘Team Building Activity’ has some decent acting but the night’s winner surely has to be ‘The Fox and The Hunter’ written by Simon Godfrey, directed by James Hartley and performed by Hartley and Tom Green. This was by far the most engaging and skilled piece on offer. Actors managed to tilt the audience’s expectations many times throughout the play’s allocated 10 minutes and I see a bright future for these young men.

Whilst a masterclass on timing, rhythm, subtext and belief might not go astray with many Short & Sweet pieces, it’s when you as audience stumble upon the gold and its inclusivity for the performers and artists that makes this festival worthwhile. And never has an audience been stacked with so many people who want to love you or a stage crew who act with the speed and dexterity of a special ops team.

So pop along, cast your vote and pray there’s a ‘Fox and Hunter’ piece there amongst the choices for you to thoroughly enjoy.

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1 comment

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Wm Chidley January 12, 2013 at 10:29 pm

"…a masterclass on timing, rhythm…" Is it possible? Other than a two hour introduction/definition on what it might be? Timing and rhythm are prime number one qualities for an actor acquired through experience. By getting in front of audiences night after night. The best place for actors to learn timing and rhythm: stand up comedy. How many actors want to do this? I agree with you: timing + rhythm (… though there might be a better word for this one?) + subtext + belief = pretty good acting. "…subtext and belief" ? Yes, I think these two qualities can be investigated in books, perhaps 'masterclasses', and then practised and practised and obsessed on.
I don't think it's possible to google acting skills and then acquire them. And call me old (I'm old), but regardless of style – be it traditional, bat shit bingo glass box, etc – one can only practise and develop by getting in front of an audiences. Short and sweet is a great start. Hone the play, take it to Edinburgh Fringe and do it 28 times in a row night after night. You might lose your shirt, but you'll get a bit of real experience from it.

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