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Arts and Entertainment

10 Minute Playfest moves Durango to laughter and tears for 13 years

Brenda Macon

“We all play many parts,” or so said a smart guy named Shakespeare. Certainly, this is the case for actors. The idea that life is about contrast, duality and survival through ups and downs is best presented through a series of short plays happening this weekend at Durango Arts Center.

We celebrate the 13th anniversary of the global playwriting contest and take the winning plays from page to stage. We seek out new talent from around the world and titrate these inspiring scripts through a careful review process to bring you the very best ones.

Somewhere in the world right now waits a writer who mailed in a short play to Durango, Colorado, for a contest. The anticipation to find out if this creation of the mind will be accepted has the writer chewing her fingernails to the quick. Will the judges like it? Will they understand the intent? Will they agree with the inkling of the true nature of humanity, the humor, the vibe? Well, we will see, dear readers. We will see. This play along with several hundred others have landed squarely in the laps of our volunteer play readers, and this weekend, the selected handful of short plays will be presented just once and just for you.

So why is this playfest special? Think of it like a charcuterie board of perspectives, and, within it, you will find a favorite play that you will remember for a long time. Your friend’s favorite might be different, and this makes for a very interesting debrief over dinner or wine afterwards. These short, 10-minute plays run the gamut between style and presentation. Each play is unique in genre, theme and messaging: “Shhhh,” the grand prize-winning play is like a mini horror movie, and “Snacks” is like “Toy Story” with food. It won the people’s choice award. Without giving away the plot, these are morsels that are having a conversation. Whether they’re happy snacks or terrified to be eaten remains to be seen. You may have a different relationship with the food on your plate after you see it.

While this is a global contest, it’s celebrated within the context of our local community, and all of the actors and directors are skilled volunteers who are passionate about making these scripts come to life. Each voice and vision brings a fresh perspective to the plays, and these special flavors on your plate will only be tasted once.

  • Grand prize winner: “SHHH!” by Kristin Hanratty, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • People’s Choice winner: “SNACKS” by Keven Broccoli, Johnston, Rhode Island.
  • Runners-Up: “SORRY ...” by Barbara Anderson, San Carlos, California; Speed Dating” by Richard Strickland, Stoughton, Massachusetts; and “The Art of Ketchup and Dandelions” by Shawn Henry, Davidson, North Carolina.
In the theater
  • 10 Minute Play Festival: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13 and 14; 2:30 p.m. Oct. 15. Tickets $15.
  • Adult Improv Showcase Performance: 7 p.m. Oct. 20. $15/$10.
  • Silent Sundays with Swanson: 2 p.m. Oct. 22. $15.
  • Rocky Horror Show: 7 p.m. Oct. 27-29, 31, Nov. 3-5; 10 p.m. Oct. 28 and Nov. 4. Tickets $25.
Art classes and gallery events
  • Pots & Pints, theme: Monster Mugs: 4:30 p.m. Friday the 13th. $35.
  • Current Exhibit: “The Night Gallery, A Terrifyingly Creative Community Exhibit.” Free.
  • Artisan’s Market: Open noon-6 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday.
  • Adult and youth art and theater classes fall online registration now open.

Email info@durangoarts.org Buy tickets, donate, become a member and register for classes at DurangoArts.org.

Brenda Macon has been executive director of Durango Arts Center since 2018.