Alien sex fantasies, extreme family dysfunction and God-fish; it’s all in an evening’s work for the Northwest Festival of Ten Minute Plays. Taking on new adjudication, a new space at Lord Leebrick Theatre’s Broadway location and 10 more budding playwrights, NW 10 is in rehearsals, and on its way.
This year’s title, Northwest Ten: Mission Accomplished! sums up the insanity. Producer Paul Calandrino comments, “Since it’s our fifth season, we thought we should celebrate. Just as when George W. Bush proclaimed an end to major combat operations in the Iraq War, we hope that by proclaiming ‘mission accomplished’ the festival will continue on for at least another seven or eight years.”
The festival is stepping it up, enlisting the help of playwright and professor Deborah Brevoort (NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and Goddard College) to select the plays. Calandrino and Connie Bennett selected the plays for the previous shows, but felt that an outside eye might be more impartial. According to Calandrino, “We know most of the playwrights in town, and I have been teaching playwriting through Lord Leebrick for a couple of years, so even though the plays were submitted to us blind, we often knew who wrote which play. Anybody who tells you that they can be completely unbiased when it comes to choosing between a friend’s play and the work of a complete stranger is being less than candid.”
This new selection process applied to Calandrino’s work as well, and when the producer submitted his play there was no guarantee it would be chosen. “It was nerve racking for me. But Connie and I both resigned ourselves to the possibility that our plays would not be selected. We felt strongly that this was one of the only ways to give every playwright a fair shake.”
Calandrino’s play, Daggit, was one of the final eight chosen, and Calandrino is excited about the rest of the line-up, too. “We have realism, absurdism, fantasy, straight-up comedy, heartfelt comedy, mystery, satire and deeply moving drama.”
There will be numerous themes and subjects addressed, Calandrino notes, such as “the toll active military service can take on a person’s equilibrium and perspective, the consequences of leaving extremely awkward voicemail messages, how couples can grow apart, split and then inexplicably find themselves more perfectly matched, and the angst many of us feel over the gradual extinction of the natural world.”
Phew. Sounds like quite an evening! Mark your calendar and get your tickets for a wild evening now, for according to Calandrino, “I think it’s impossible to identify a unifying concept for this show, except for dramatic excellence.”
Northwest Ten: Mission Accomplished! runs April 5-13 at Lord Leebrick Theatre, 194 W. Broadway.