Manhattan Rep Cultivating Amazing Theatre in the Heart of Times Square!
#17 - The 10 Minute Play! Why it is different, and the best way to write one! - Feb. 27, 2017
So 10 minute plays are in! There are a myriad of theatres that are hosting 10 minute play festivals or 10 minute play competitions, and it is a great way to get your work out there and have some awesome theatrical fun without spending a lot of time and money.
But you have to realized that the 10 minute play is very different from your average One Act or Full-Length play. And because 10 minute plays are different, you can actually do things with a 10 minute play that you can't do with a longer play.
So what is the difference?
This is a no-brainer: THE 10 MINUTE PLAY IS SHORTER.
It is 10 minutes. You have very little time to develop your characters. You have no time for back story. And you have very little time to set up and develop your storyline.
And because your 10 minute play is short the classic model of Playwriting (Problem to be solved, leading to climax and resolution) doesn't necessarily apply. There are other unique play models that work for the 10 minute play.
MODELS OF THE TEN MINUTE PLAY:
Classic Model: Problem to be solved leading to a climax and resolution.
Example: A depressed divorced man down on his luck, longing to be in a relationship, goes on a horrible blind date and realizes he would be happier alone.
Situational Model: The play is driven by an odd, strange or unique situation - it doesn't necessarily have a character resolution.
Example: Two guys meet at a health clinic to get tested for stds and they discover that they are dating the same woman.
Character Driven Model: The fun and through line of this type of play is the unique and interesting characters depicted and their interaction.
Example: Two over the top flaming drag queens who live together make Sunday moring pancakes together.
All of these models are viable for the 10 Minute Play.
But the best model is to use ALL THREE AT THE SAME TIME.
Create a 10 minute play with a problem to be solved, leading to a climax and a resolution, with a really interesting situation, and with interesting and unique characters!
Example: A lonely depressed woman with Tourettes Syndrome who is desperate to find a mate and a lonely depressed one legged deaf man, also desperate, go on a blind date at an ultra high end restaurant where they encounter an angry New York waiter, and through a series of comedic events, they finally connect and fall in love.
Yeah, I know this example is pretty nutty, but do you understand what I mean?
Problem to be solved leading to a climax and resolution, interesting unique situation, and interesting unique characters are the key to a GREAT 10 Minute Play.
Yes, each model alone can work, but why not triple down and use all three?