one minute plays: a practical guide to tiny theatre

Hey look!  The good folks at Gi60 have just published One Minute Plays:  A Practical Guide to Tiny Theatre.

One Minute Plays demystifies the super-short-form play, demonstrating that this rich, accessible format offers great energy and variety not only to audiences but to everyone involved in its creation and performance. The one minute play offers a unique challenge to actors, directors and writers: how do you create a whole world, where actors have room to perform and where audiences have a true experience all in 60 seconds? This handbook includes:

  • An anthology of 200 one-minute plays selected from the annual Gone in 60 Seconds festival.
  • A toolbox of exercises, methodologies and techniques for educators, practitioners and workshop leaders at all levels.
  • Tips and advice on the demands of storytelling, inclusivity and creative challenges.
  • Detailed practical information about creating your own minute festival, including play selection, running order, staging and marketing.

I’m also thrilled that a few of my own Gi60 pieces have been included:  Ace and Me, King Kwik, Nothing, and Sleep Tight.

You can order a copy of this highly recommended book here.

You can also pick up a copy at the author’s party on Monday, May 1st at the Drama Bookshop in NYC.  Should be a great time, and they’ll be doing staged readings of several pieces, including Sleep Tight.

ace and me

Gi60 – the annual, international one minute play festival – is this weekend at the Department of Theater at Brooklyn College.  For ticket information, click here. I’ve had pieces in the show for several years now.

Here’s “Ace & Me” – about my dog – from last year’s show.

king kwik

Gi60 UK is up this weekend at the Viaduct Theatre in Halifax, and my piece “Possible Opening Lines” opens the show.  Hoo ha.  Here’s my piece from last week’s show in Brooklyn.

King Kwik

Scene: ISAAC – middle-aged – speaks to the audience, off to the side of the stage.

ISAAC
King Kwik was the greatest store on Earth.  It had everything you could possibly need:  comics, candy, pizza, 25 cent airplanes, a big spy mirror, and, of course, Icees.  But more than anything, King Kwik had Margaret. 

Lights come up on MARGARET, 60, thin, white-haired, chipper, behind a counter.  She speaks to an unseen child.

MARGARET
Is that candy?  Oh, that’s a lot of candy.

ISAAC
Margaret was dependable and not at all complicated.  At exactly 3:05 p.m. hundreds of kids would race the two blocks from school to see who could be first to victimize Margaret.

A horde of kids, including IZZY and TIM (both 11), come onstage and huddle around the counter, shoving food and items at Margaret and yelling orders at Margaret.

KIDS
Heat my pizza, Margaret!  Icee!  Icee!  I want change!   Stop pushing!  Take out my pizza!  Icee!  I dropped a quarter!  Where’s the bathroom?  He hit me, Margaret.  I want change!  Heat my pizza! 

MARGARET
Okay!  Settle down!  Settle down, honey!

ISAAC
She liked the girls best.  Called them “honey.”

She spots a boy in the corner.

MARGARET
You!  Over there!  I saw that!  Out for a month!  I know you, now!  Out for a month! 

ISAAC
That was her punishment for delinquents.  No King Kwik for a month. 

TIM, a tough kid in a white t-shirt, grabs something, sticks it under his shirt and bumps Izzy.  He starts to exits.

MARGARET
You!  Alright!  I saw that!  Empty your pockets!

Tim turns, angry and defensive.

TIM
I din’t do nothin’!

MARGARET
Oh yes you did.  I saw you in the spy mirror.

TIM
DID NOT!  DIN’T DO NOTHIN’!

MARGARET
…Oh!  Out!  And don’t come back for a month!

TIM
Aw, bite me, ya’ bitch!  I’ll come back tomorrow!

The kids are stunned.  Tim storms out.  Margaret is shocked, hurt.  Tears well up in her eyes and she turns and covers her face with her apron.  All the kids leave but Izzy.  He watches her, compassionately, and approaches the counter. 

IZZY
C’n I have an Icee?

Margaret shaking, makes the Icee.

IZZY
Are you okay?

Margaret nods.  She hands him the Icee.  He pays, starts to leave.

MARGARET
Those Pop-tarts are eighty-five cents.

Izzy stops, frozen.  He backs up, sheepishly, puts the pop-tarts and change on the counter.

MARGARET
And I’m sorry, but you can’t come in for a month. 

Izzy runs off, head hung low.

MARGARET
(calling after him)
Don’t forget your Pop-tarts!

ISAAC
But they’d only have a bitter taste.

A girl comes in, puts a piece of candy on the counter.  Izzy, off to the side, presses his face to the glass, watching – a sad criminal.

MARGARET
Thirty cents, honey.

BLACKOUT