Those with attention deficit disorder should cotton to the First One Minute Play Festival, opening shortly at Actor’s Express. A number of LGBT playwrights and a lesbian director are involved in a festival that delivers what it promises: All plays are under 60 seconds.
The festival is the creation of Dominic D’Andrea, a New York based theater producer who has been doing this for a few years now. Once D’Andrea has assembled a team for each new city, he said themes usually emerge in the scripts. He strives to be as diverse as possible in terms of what is included.
“It’s important to have different voices,” he says, with artists of various races and sexual orientation.
As D’Andrea began to meet Atlanta-based playwights across the country, he realized Atlanta was his next stop. He talked to Freddie Ashley at Actor’s Express and they decided to collaborate. Eventually D’Andrea came up with a list of who he thought were the area’s hottest playwrights. In all, more than 30 playwrights are participating in the event.
The list is impressive with a cross-section of Atlanta writers. Openly gay playwright Topher Payne, a GA Voice columnist, is one of the playwrights. He has written two scripts for the event, both gay themed. In one, a married gay couple contemplates moving to a state where their marriage would not be legal. The other is about two gay men driving home from a bar after both were attracted to the same guy.
For Payne, it was important, given that the script runs precisely one minute or shorter, that he come up with a pivotal moment for each of the characters.
“I have never written a one minute play before, so this is definitely a challenge,” he says.
Payne is excited to be part of the group, especially since he says it’s rare that this many playwrights get to collaborate in the same place. He has read some of the other scripts and has been impressed.
Among the other gay playwights are Steve Murray, Johnny Drago and Steve Yockey.
One of the directors is lesbian Melissa Foulger. She is helming two of the scripts, although none are LGBT themed. Foulger says she approaches this as she would any other project.
Both she and Payne hope that the One Minute Play Festival becomes an annual event here in Atlanta.