Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Theatre's Mini Dramas (100 Words or Less); Royal Court Invites Public to Pen Bonsai Plays

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Theatre's Mini Dramas (100 Words or Less); Royal Court Invites Public to Pen Bonsai Plays

Article excerpt

Byline: Nick Curtis Senior Feature Writer

IF BREVITY is the soul of wit, the Royal Court Theatre is the wittiest place in London right now. The stairwells, corridors and even the lavatory doors of the Sloane Square venue are festooned with plays written in 100 words or less.

The mini dramas have been written and donated by members of the public, and by writers and actors including DC Moore, Zawe Ashton and Simon Stephens, to celebrate the Court's Young Writers Festival.

Anyone can submit a play, by email or in a drop-box at the Royal Court's bar until April 14. The 100 words must include all stage directions, but not the title or character names. And if someone else's micro-epic takes your fancy, you can take it away.

"The challenge of writing a play in 100 words is to distil one dramatic moment," said the theatre's writing tutor, dramatist Leo Butler. "It's a very good exercise to sharpen theatrical writing tools." At the weekend Butler hosted a workshop which generated around 30 new bonsai plays, which have been scattered through the theatre.

Many of the scripts on display favour jokes or bizarre situations. One play in the bar, handwritten on a bill, includes the stage direction: "There's a deafening sound of a donkey sacrifice"" "There's room for satire or for a really impassioned, emotional speech, or for something formally inventive," said Butler. "The great thing is that, since many of the plays are unlikely to be performed, though they will be read, you have unlimited freedom. …

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