Lots of New Talent Showcased at The One Act Festival

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Friday 10th and Saturday 11th July saw The Little Theatre host the one act play festival with local drama groups showcasing plays they have written. There were 5 plays in total, each being very different from one another showing the talents of new writers, directors and actors.

Normally hosted in the Haywood studio, this time the one act’s were played out on the main stage; which I thoroughly enjoyed and so did the audience, overall the event was a success. The plays were also joined by a medley of monologues and poetry being read, so there was definitely something for everyone to enjoy.

One acts follow the same guidelines as a full length in that there can be multiple scenes and the length can differ from a few minutes (or even less!) to much longer. The amount of characters can also differ; there can be one person or twenty plus. The term ‘flash drama’ is also used to refer to a 10 minute play as a subgenre from a one act.

To make a good one act, there should be character development as well as the 3 act structure (setup, confrontation and resolution), This all being told in one act can prove challenging.

Many well known writers have written one act plays such a Harold Pinter and Jean Paul Sartre. Pinter has written multiple one acts, which are a mixture of being disturbing and comical. One of Sartre’s one acts ‘No Exit’ is about 3 people who are doomed to spend eternity with one another in a single room only to realize that through their taunting of one another they are all in hell.

A great and useful thing abut one acts is that they are easily available online for anyone to produce, especially if you do not see yourself as a writer but still want to direct something. There are so many websites available to look at which offer a huge selection of one acts, which vary in length, cast size and the amount of scenes.

All the one acts in the festival were original plays and showed how versatile one acts can be as the amount of actors in each play varied from 2 to 7, as well as the genres. The scenes were simply set.

Richard III: OO’s E’ then? tells us about what happened when the remains of Richard III were found and how it affects the people working in the offices overlooking the car park. This was a comical play, but also gave the audience the chance to decide whether or not Richard III was guilty of the murder of the princes in the tower.

‘Disposable’ begins in a police interrogation room with Martin being questioned about a disposable camera he found in a taxi and what is on the incriminating photographs.

Comedy ‘Thirtysomething’ is about single girl Nicola who meets Ben at a nightclub and is determined to be his girlfriend no matter what. This was a fun play with a sinister edge to it.

‘Romance’ consisted of 3 women all of different ages who talk about their lives, their past, present and their future. This one act played with time and kept the audiences guessing as to who these women were and how they are connected.

The final play of the festival was the comedy ‘The Final Pitch’ based around the scary world of pitching television show ideas and the crazy concepts people pitch, but how one crazy idea could just work.

All these one acts consisted of simple settings with multiple scenes, there was comedy, drama and a little bit of history. This is what I enjoy about one act plays, as there is so much versatility and something for everyone to enjoy, especially from watching festivals. I didn’t know what the plays were about beforehand so I enjoyed being surprised by the quality of all of the plays. So if you feel like something different and want to be pleasantly surprised keep an eye out for the next one act play festival.

Victoria Kirk