A two-hour play seems still too short for me. If I wanted to get the most out of a story especially if it's a theater version of a popular novel, I would want more content and substance as value for my money. It really is quite difficult for the storyteller to be able to put all the ideas into just a few hours.
But wait! What is this I heard about short plays compressed into 10 minutes? Now that is mind-boggling!
A festival of ten-minute plays called Short+Sweet Manila 2015 will soon be showcasing the works of many of our talented short film makers. But if you are among the many film making enthusiasts who wants to go pro, the same event will also be offering Master Classes this September to be held at the Samsung Hall in SM Aura. The master classes will be presented by both local and foreign experts with many topics related to film making.
Dr. Joem Antonio, Storywriting School founder and course creator, will be among them to share his knowledge and experience in storywriting. His play, "Death in Ten Minutes," garnered several awards in last year's festival and now he's ready to give back to the theater community. His class will be on September 6, 2015, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. The fee is surprisingly very affordable at only P500. To enroll, you may email email@example.com.
He was recently interviewed by a TV station to personally find out more about what he'll be teaching. Below is the transcript of his interview.
What will the topic of your writing master class be?
My topic will be Compact Scriptwriting. It’s the art of being able to optimize story, theme and impact in a stage play that has a ten-minute limit.
Why did you choose this as a topic?
I think that Compact Scriptwriting is a very timely topic for a festival such as Short+Sweet. Aside from the fact that Short+Sweet promotes ten-minute performances, I believe that the ten-minute play format is the perfect answer to those who want to participate in theatre but have neither the time nor the resources. Compact Scriptwriting is about ensuring that the script will be both fun and challenging for everyone involved without compromising content, finances, and time.
Is it possible? If poetry can be profound in a few lines, then a ten-minute play can also be such. If a thirty-second commercial can emotionally move audiences, then so can a ten-minute play do the same.
What areas of this topic will you cover?
I will be reviewing everyone in terms of coming up with the basics of a story and a script. A story will have the elements we are all familiar with since elementary; the difference is, we will be looking at these elements from the perspectives of a playwright, of performers, and of an audience.
We will also review the different instructions a script gives to its potential performer. One has to see that a script is “imperative literature” or “a piece of literature whose art is to give instructions.” The participants will then have to learn how to write their instructions clearly so as the play becomes performable on stage. Part of this is that the participants will have to learn how to imagine the performance and to translate it into words.
After reviewing the participants on these two basics, the next area is to apply these basics to something more advanced: how to tell a well-layered story onstage by means of theatrical instructions.
What will participants leave with after attending your master class?
At least, that they leave with a clearer understanding of how the elements of story and a script work from a playwright’s perspective, as well as learning how to allocate within a ten-minute limit. At most, become more aware of how the different combinations of these elements can make for a rich experience without breaking the ten-minute limit.
We hope to see you at Samsung Hall for this master class. If you're a beginning playwright, you might also be interested in his crash course, "How to Write Plays for Theatre." You'll find his other course schedules here: Storywriting School writing workshops and courses.