UofL Spring Shorts Fill The Hole Left By The Demise Of Actors Theatre’s Ten-Minute Plays

Apr 7, 2022 at 2:02 pm
The curtain opens April 7 on Uofl Theatre's Spring Shorts production.
The curtain opens April 7 on Uofl Theatre's Spring Shorts production. Adobe Stock

One of the greatest legacies of the Actors Theatre of Louisville, the “Ten-Minute” play was lost to the city and the nation in 2017. When Actors Theatre folded the Ten-Minute play contest, it created a hole that was only made bigger with the recent loss of the Humana Festival of New American Plays.

But have heart, UofL’s theater department’s Spring Shorts is here to carry on the Louisville tradition of Ten-Minute plays running April 7-16. 

Spring Shorts is a collection of seven brand new plays, each written by students of UofL. The playwrights range from undergraduates to post doctoral students. The plays were directed by Geoffrey Nelson and MFA candidate Sarah Chen Elston. The subjects span a range of topics, “ from a satirical murder mystery to a look at a gay couple struggle with the homophobia of the 1960’s, and a possible alien abduction.”

“The new play process is indescribable. Helping these playwrights take these new works from the script to stage is an incredible journey for everyone involved,” said Nelson in a release. “And it’s so satisfying to do it here in Louisville, where the ten-minute play has such a storied history.”

From the release: 

“Some of the plays cover intense or difficult subjects. Flora Kathryn Schildknecht, whose play Violin Lessons explores the relationship between a daughter and her father, struggling to find -despite the father’s dementia- connections through music. ‘My play explores boundaries between creativity and insanity. I hope the play communicates that new adventures in the arts—in literature, painting, music, etc.—are sometimes rejected as ‘madness.’

“Other playwrights, like Ross Just, who wrote detective novel satire Curtain Call, address less weighty themes. ‘My play, Curtain Call, is a very personal story as I too have been murdered by a deranged serial killer. Jokes aside, I just wanted to write a play that could make people happy in any way I could. For all the playwrights, Shorts is a chance to learn what happens when their words and characters are embodied by actors, staged by directors, and given light and sound by technical theatre artists. But for several, the production is an extension of their classwork. Two of the plays were written by students enrolled in a playwriting class in the fall, and Sarah Elston is currently finishing a semester in a directing Class.’”

“It’s been a serious education,” said Elston in the release. “I’ve learned so much in class, but there comes a point when the only way you can keep learning is to get up and do the thing you’ve been studying.”

For more information about attending the plays, contact the box office at [email protected].

COVID  protocols are still in place and audience members are required to wear masks. Proof of vaccination or negative Covid test required.

The plays are being held at University of Louisville Playhouse, 1911 South Third St., April 7, 8, 14, 15, 16  at 7:30 p.m. and April 9 at 3 p.m. There’s a suggested donation of $5-$10.

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