Featuring 25 complete plays running no longer than 15 minutes, Secret Theatre artistic director and festival brainchild Richard Mazda says the length allows for a more diverse breadth of artists to showcase their work.
“A full-length, 90-minute play by an unknown writer is almost economically un-producable,” he said. “This [format] gives you a snapshot of the directors’ work.”
Currently in its third year, the festival relies on a relatively unorthodox means of whittling down the 25 competing plays to the final eight, which will go head to head during the finals on Friday, September 18.
While a panel of judges chooses the 25 contestants from around 100 submissions, audiences vote on which plays progress to the final round.
“It’s like American Idol, in reverse,” said Mazda.
And while he contends the process tends to stray toward crowd-pleasers, Mazda says the final batch of work battling it out this Friday is extremely strong.
“It’s a common thing that everyone likes to have a laugh and be entertained,” he said. “A particularly depressing 10-minute play about a terrorist in a hostage situation, say, is not always going to get a popular vote. But I think the final plays this year are generally very strong.”
Tickets to performances this week and Friday’s finals can be purchased for $18 at secrettheatre.com.