Published: Jul 08, 2008 04:04 PM
Modified: Jul 08, 2008 04:04 PM
Art tends to reflect the state of the culture from which it sprouts, and with the world mired in tension and uncertainty these days it's hardly surprising that many of the submissions to the annual 10 By 10 in the Triangle play festival this year featured people on edge.
That doesn't explain the bugs, though.
This year's festival, like the six before it, offers 10 plays, each one running 10 minutes (or a little less), staged by 10 actors. Admission, natch, is 10 bucks. The festival begins at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro on Thursday -- which happens to be July 10.
The festival each year draws hundreds of submissions from across the country and beyond. They run the gamut -- comedy, drama, experimental stuff, you name it -- but Lynden Harris, who founded and coordinates the festival, has noticed that each year's crop usually includes numbers of plays with common themes.
"It's very interesting the way you see these strange trends," she said. "And you never know what they're going to be. This year we had a lot of plays that were about people on roofs or on the edges of things."
That makes metaphoric sense, what with the economy, gas prices, the housing collapse, war without end and so on -- and, indeed, Harris said the submissions this year were edgier than usual.
But she isn't sure what to make of the other predominant theme running through this year's submissions.
"We had so many plays about insects," she said. "And so many of them were really good. We would have liked to do several of them, but we were like, 'How many plays can we do about insects?'"
"We do have one in the final lineup. There was another one we loved, but it needed six characters, and because of logistics -- we have to schedule things so none of the actors have to perform in back-to-back plays -- we couldn't get that one in. We may try to figure out a way to do it next year."
Some of the plays in this year's installment are by internationally known playwrights. Others are by relative newcomers. Eight directors are involved, and an ensemble of 10 actors from Triangle theater compaies will perform all 10 plays.
This year, for the first time, 10 by 10 will present four world premieres: "Speed Mating," by David Guaspari; "Stick Up for Mars," by Patrick Gabridge; "Off to Summer" by Tira Pamquist; and "Exit Interview" by Doug Reed.
"Four world premieres," Harris said. "That's really exciting. It makes me nervous, but it's really exciting."
One of the premieres, "Stick Up for Mars," she said, is about two women on a spaceship headed for the red planet. It is, as you might imagine, a very long trip in a very cramped space, and the travelers begin to get on each other's nerves.
Another one of the premieres is the one about insects.
"'Speed Mating' is about 17-year cicadas," Harris said. "They hatch after 17 years and have a very limited amount of time to find a mate and procreate. The ones who sit around and philosophize about the meaning of life, well, they might be at a certain disadvantage ..."
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