December is quickly approaching, which means finals, snow, and the 10-Minute Play Festival are around the corner. Each year, Alpha Psi Omega, Alma College’s theater honorary, puts on several short, one-act plays during the first week of December.
Every play is studentproduced, from the directing and actors to the tech and backstage crew. The directors of the 10-Minute Plays this year are Rachel Blome (‘21), Merek Alam (‘20), Joe Harrison (‘20), Carly Christie (‘21), Conner Garma (‘20) and Kallen Eckert.
With the variety of directors, there is also a variety of plays being produced this year. “This year’s shows are pretty varied, ranging from light-hearted comedies to the darkest sides of society,” said Garma.
By showcasing different themes and messages in every play, each director hopes their audience finds something to relate to and reflect on. “I would want the audience to walk away realizing how important theatre really is. You can create self-discovery, creativity, teamwork, and reminds us that we are not alone,” said Christie.
These messages in the plays can also share life lessons with the audience. “I hope that my audience feels very emotional after watching the show, whether they feel angry, sad, confused, or something else. I want the audience to realize that they need to appreciate every minute they spend in this life, because you never know how much time you have left,” said Blome.
A new occurrence this year is that two directors, Garma and Alam, are each producing a play that they wrote. “One of the characters, Ryan, is a very personal character for me. It’s a bit of a caricature, but his basis is very much founded on a certain point in my life. I wanted to creatively show how to deal with the serious problems Ryan is dealing with in a fun, lighthearted, optimistic way” said Garma.
Garma and Blome are also facing their directing debut at this year’s 10-Minute Play Festival. “This is my first time directing, and it’s been really cool to see the show come together and see my actors really telling a story. It’s been an interesting experience getting to make all the decisions of the performance, from lighting to sound to costuming,” said Blome.
“This is my directing debut, and the entire process is very new to me. The hardest part is having to figure out how to describe and help my actors understand and feel the vision I have for each and every moment,” said Garma. Learning about the process is a challenge that every director faces. “Trying to find character arcs and trying to find clear direction with characters in ten pages, as well as getting everything across quickly who the characters are in this world that’s being created is the hardest part for me,” said Harrison.
Directing a 10-Minute play requires a lot of dedication and work, mostly due to the short nature of the plays themselves. There is a lot of dialogue and emotion that must be shown in the short amount of time allotted for each play. Each director has their own aspect of the plays that they think is the hardest. “The hardest part of directing ten minutes, is the ending of ten minutes. […] With having only ten minutes to create emotion and realness is a challenge, but teamwork, time, and passion will always make a production amazing,” said Christie.
The plays shown in the 10-Minute Play Festival this year are: Fugue directed by Rachel Blome, Doll Cargo directed by Joe Harrison, Error by Trial directed by Merek Alam, A Whole House Full of Babies directed by Carly Christie, Better Off directed by Connor Garma and The Chocolate Affair directed by Rachel Blome. The plays are running from 30 November to 2 December.