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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Monday, November 12, 2007

"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

The words above were Ernest Hemingway's example of the shortest of short stories.

Shorter dramatic pieces tend not to have this sort of elegance.. Leaving Beckett out of the equation (for once) they tend to be written for younger audiences, as comedy sketches, or seem more like scenes from a larger work. They can be perfectly acceptable in that form, and many of them are funny and successful in their own right.

I'm curious if short pieces, dramatically, can be as successful as longer pieces. Some of the greatest works of fiction and poetry are brief and full of impact. What are some short pieces (less than 30 minutes) that you've found that strike you as attaining some sort of artistic height? Do you think stage performance lends itself, truly, to minimalism?

Short plays in the comments section are especially welcome.

5 comments:

Praxis Theatre said...

Could you clarify what you mean by minimalism?

(I know a bit about the "Minimalist" movement in visual art, but not much about the word as it relates to theatre.)

Anyway. We did Eugene Ionesco's short one-act The Lesson at this year's Toronto Fringe. I thought the text was awesome.

Ian

Zack said...

"Mountain Language" by Harold Pinter is very good.

Philucifer [aka Charlie Willis] said...

"Riders to the Sea" by J.M. Synge comes to mind pretty quickly as a good example, but that could just be because it was our first directing project in my college directing class. Of course, it's an older play having been first performed around 1904.

I found Mamet's "No One Will Be Immune" to be pretty great short work as well, and Harold Pinter's "One For The Road" I've both read and seen performed is a brilliant 30 minute play about torture and interrogation.

All of these plays WORK as full plays, and don't leave you feeling as if you've seen something truncated or not-fully-developed. They're perfect as they are. In the end, none of them are about minimalism, though. They're about being only as long as they need to be in order to be complete.

Tim Errickson said...

I'm a big fan of Romulus Linneys' CAN CAN

C. Muehleck said...

A short play in the Comments section:

[Lights up]

Bark.

[Lights down]