SAINT ANDREWS – Actors will perform six playwrights’ works, including two from Charlotte County and a 95-year-old, during the Short Play Showcase on July 30 as part of the Old Sow Theatre Festival.
Named after the famous whirlpool that sits off the coast of Deer Island, the festival is a week-long celebration of the performing arts, which the St. Andrews Arts Council hosts.
Jackie Guthrie, president of the council, said they simply wanted to give people who want to write plays a venue to have their work performed. For simplicity, they wanted plays that needed little production and had, at most, four actors. All the plays have the sea or maritime setting as a theme to evoke the festival’s spirit.
Last summer, actors read instead of performed the works of five plays, said Guthrie.
“We put the notice out, they get a couple weeks to write it, then they can send it in,” she said, of the process. The festival’s creative director makes the selections. All who were selected receive $100 for their work “and they get to see it performed when we put it on.”
Creative director Ron Spurles came up with the idea of five-minute plays. Guthrie said there are several variations on the theme of short plays.
“Five minutes gives you a chance to give a story, in some depth, but it’s not going to be something that you have to slave over, and we wanted to be able to have everybody that won to be able to be performed.
“It’s a good exercise in cutting out redundancy and trying to get your point across. It’s kind of exciting.”
Brandon Hicks from St. Stephen is one of the two Charlotte County writers whose play actors will perform.
“Any story starts with an idea and when you’re doing a five-minute play, it’s going to be a fairly simple idea,” said Hicks.
The characters have to come to the audience mostly fully formed and not needing a lot of character development.
Hicks said his play is based on a made-up Saint Andrews fishing legend, sort of like a Moby Dick tale.
He has done other short-form storytelling before, writing plays that were 10 to 15 minutes.
“Five is the shortest I’ve done,” he said.
He’s excited to see this play performed so close to home and he hopes he’ll be able to meet with some of the other writers at the performances.
The festival runs from July 29 through Aug. 4. The barn on Ministers Island will host the five-minute plays beginning at 2 p.m. There is a tribute to Anne Murray at Dominion Hill on July 31, while the All Saints Parish Hall in Saint Andrews will host two one-act comedies on July 29. For younger people, group drama classes for ages 7-10 and 11-14 will run from July 31 to Aug. 4.
Additional information about the festival is available on the events page of the organization website, www.standrewsartscouncil.com, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. People wishing to purchase tickets for any of the events can also email that address.
The five-minute plays are a voluntary donation. Anyone who isn’t a member of Ministers Island will have to pay admission to the site.