Twenty-Five Short Plays: Selected Works from the University of North Carolina Long Story Shorts Festival, 2011-2015

Twenty-Five Short Plays: Selected Works from the University of North Carolina Long Story Shorts Festival, 2011-2015

Twenty-Five Short Plays: Selected Works from the University of North Carolina Long Story Shorts Festival, 2011-2015

Twenty-Five Short Plays: Selected Works from the University of North Carolina Long Story Shorts Festival, 2011-2015

Synopsis

In the fall of 2011, The Long Story Shorts One Act Festival was launched, featuring performances of short plays written by undergraduate students in the Writing for the Screen and Stage minor, an interdisciplinary, dramatic writing program housed in the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Marking the first five years of the festival, this anthology showcases works written to be performed in ten minutes with a small production budget. The festival gives students a unique opportunity to participate in a collaborative, developmental environment led by experienced faculty and professional actors and directors, and the plays included here rise to the occasion. Whether they are humorous, poignant, powerful, or provocative, they demonstrate why the short play form has become so popular; why this event has become one of the highlights of the university's cultural scene; and why the Writing for the Screen and Stage program has thrived.

Excerpt

In 2010, as I was reading the first set of short plays by a unc Writing for the Screen and Stage class, I was struck by the ambition, depth of vision, and singular voices of these undergraduates. the experience encouraged me to imagine a play festival where student writers could participate in a process rarely experienced on their level: a collaborative, developmental environment led by accomplished faculty and working professionals. This was the birth of the Writing for the Screen and Stage Long Story Shorts One Act Festival, in which I select a group of short plays from the program’s introductory class and lead the playwrights through a succession of drafts prior to the first day of rehearsal. the plays are then further polished by the ideas of the directors and actors and, in some instances, by the unexpected demands of reality.

The festival premiered in the fall of 2011 on a flexible set that spells out wss, the program’s initials. the first two years of the festival featured full productions of six plays. in 2013, I changed the format to eight plays performed as staged readings. This reduced the rehearsal and production demands, while increasing the number of plays that could be showcased. the intention, in either form, has been to create an experience that mirrors the demands of the professional world, thus preparing students to better handle its challenges.

The plays in this volume were selected from the festival’s first five years: 2011 to 2015. As of this writing, forty-four have been presented to audiences at the Kenan and Studio 6 theatres on the unc campus. I do not stipulate style or impose constraints. Some are one-scene, one-set plays. But others are defined by theatrical devices or have multiple scenes, allowing them to be staged in a variety of ways. What I find encouraging . . .

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