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April 16, 2018:

THE ONE ACT PLAY

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, last night I attended what was billed as an evening of nine one-act plays.  Putting aside their quality, of which I didn’t think much, at one point did the one-act play form devolve into what is now the standard practice of basically ten-minute plays?  Because to call a ten-minute play a one-act is very peculiar to me.  To call it a sketch would be more accurate, frankly.  Certainly to call something that runs ten minutes a play is laughable.  I mean, I understand it perhaps as an exercise in how to write succinctly, but to present these things as if they were plays is, as I said, peculiar.

To wax nostalgic, I discovered real one-act plays whilst in junior high school and high school and I fell in love with the form, even though I’ve never written in the form.  Things like Albee’s The Zoo Story and The American Dream, Arthur Miller’s A Memory of Two Mondays, Murray Schisgal’s The Typists and The Tiger, William Saroyan’s Hello, Out There, Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, Noel Coward’s Fumed Oak and The Red Peppers, but there are marvelous one-acters by many famous playwrights – real plays of substance in one act and certainly not ten minutes long.  I used to love going to evenings comprised of two or three substantial one act plays – it was fun, especially if they shared actors, as in The Typists and The Tiger – which I saw with Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson.  I’m sure writers are still doing the form, but these ten-minute things are all the rage now – plays AND musicals, and I just find it silly.

Nine plays in one evening, with some just a bit longer than ten minutes, so two hours of it.  This was in the upstairs theater at the Group Rep and it was a full house and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  Doug did a nice job in his show and I saw a couple of actors who I think would be good for the musical we’ll be doing.  Have I even mentioned what the musical is?

Prior to that, I got a little over eight hours of sleep, so that was nice, but didn’t arise until almost noon.  Once up, I answered e-mails, worked at the piano, had a ninety-minute telephonic conversation with Mr. Barry Pearl, did some work on the computer, had a turkey wrap from Ralph’s, listened to some music, and then got ready to go to the show.

After the show, I stopped at Gelson’s, because the wrap wasn’t enough food for an entire day, so I got some tuna and other stuff for this coming week, and I made a couple of tuna sandwiches, which, I must say, we’re just what the doctor ordered, which is amazing, because the doctor had no clew that’s what I was going to make.  Then I had another telephonic conversation and that was that.

Today will be very busy – I’ve basically finished choosing the songs so will be getting the singers their music – that gives them a full three weeks, so that’s great.  Then I have two sets of liner notes to complete and I’ll probably even start a third – really want to get this stuff out of the way.  I’ll also do a show order and start writing the commentary. I’ll eat, hopefully pick up some packages, and I’m hoping to have the masters to hear for the two releases I want to announce on Wednesday or Thursday at the latest.  At some point I’ll relax and watch a motion picture.

The rest of the week is more of the same, writing songs, meetings and meals, announcing two new titles (with two titles coming two weeks later), rehearsing with Kay Cole and getting her club act back to where it needs to be – she does it this coming Sunday, and lots o’ other stuff.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, get singers music, write liner notes, eat, hopefully pick up packages, do a show order, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite actual one act plays?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, where I shall dream in one act.

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