Saturday, 27 April 2019

Ten-minute drama

It was a real privilege to be in the audience last night for Carword, a presentation by Core Playwrights Ensemble.

The (mostly) amateur dramatists have been meeting for the last few months to write 10-minute one-act plays, which were performed last night in Corby's theatre by four professional actors, each playing multiple roles. I've never seen drama done like this before, but it worked really well, a bit like live-action flash fiction.

Afterwards there was a Q&A session with the writers, actors and directors, during which I wrote copious notes all over my programme (which intrigued the woman sitting next to me, who kept leaning in to see what I was up to). Here are some of the key points:
  • There doesn't have to be a twist in the tale. Recognition of how a scene is going to pan out can be just as satisfying. What matters is forming an emotional connection between the characters, and between the characters and the audience.
  • It's good for actors and writers to develop a piece together, but there comes a point when the former have to kick the latter out of the room!
  • A back story can help, but isn't always necessary. One of the actors said if there was no back story it allows the character to evolve purely from the script.
  • Ten minutes isn't long in which to develop an entire story. The word 'discipline' cropped up several times. 
There are actually nine people in the group, but only five plays were chosen for performance. However, the other four stayed involved in the process, working with those selected and supporting them with encouragement and constructive feedback. I love the generosity of that.

I came home inspired. Congratulations to everyone involved. 


  1. That sounds like such an interesting undertaking, both for the writers and actors. I bet it was particularly challenging for the actors to have to totally change character every 10 minutes. Funny about the lady sitting next to you.:-)

    1. Yes, the actors really earned their money. I'm so glad I went.

  2. That sounds fascinating, Julia - hope it inspired you to write your own!

    1. Writing monologues is one thing; but a play, even a short one? I'm not sure I'm ready for the challenge, Rosemary.