Published: Sep 24, 2008 07:54 AM
Modified: Sep 24, 2008 07:54 AM
Slam! Play competition takes the stage
CARRBORO -- You know how some competitions are structured so that everybody plays on a level playing field and nobody is able to gain an unfair advantage?Well, the PlaySlam doesn't bother with that sort of thing. It's a competition in which the audience votes on the winner, and packing the crowd with friends, family and anyone else you can find to vote for you isn't just allowed -- it's encouraged. "There are two ways to win the NC PlaySlam," said Allan Maule, the 2005 winner. "One is to write quick, hard-hitting scenes that win the hearts of the audience in three minutes. The other is to write quick, hard-hitting scenes and bring all your friends to vote for you."The sixth annal PlaySlam at The ArtsCenter will be held Saturday at 8 p.m. The PlaySlam is high art and low math in one fell swoop. Fast and furious, the PlaySlam works something like a poetry slam -- a succession of very, very short plays and scenes (1 to 3 minutes long) by playwrights vying for fame, fortune, and votes.Who wins? You decide. The whole thing is deliberately done with an irreverent, seat-of-the-pants tone. "This is theatre at its liveliest and least rehearsed and voting at its most irregular," said Lynden Harris, founder of the PlaySlam.The competition is open to any and all North Carolina writers (although, sorry, the deadline for this year's edition is past). Participating playwrights and actors show up on Saturday at 5 for the one and only rehearsal. Three hours later, they go live.Actors perform the 12 to 15 pieces in round one. The top five, based on audience scoring, advance to the final round.The winning playwright takes home $100."PlaySlam audiences are amazing," said Adrienne Pender, president of the North Carolina Playwrights Alliance. "They know they're in control, they get into it and respond to every play. I've never seen audiences like them anywhere else."It's an exuberant, raucous process."The PlaySlam is the most fun you can have without breaking the law," said winning playwright John Boni.
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2008 The Chapel Hill News