(Applause Acting Series). 5-Minute Plays is the latest collection from veteran editor Lawrence Harbison, a man who has spent his career championing new and established playwrights by bringing their work into print. What's the story behind this one? In keeping with the spirit of the book, we'll give it to you in five. 1. On any given day, freely circulated viral videos make waves across our society and we take the time to consume them. The top trenders boast an average length around five minutes. 2. Needless to say, an average play runs far longer (and costs much more). Accordingly, we don't have the time (or money) for theater. 3. Variety is the spice of life perhaps that's why the passive consumption of digital media runs rampant. Sometimes you feel like something melodramatic; sometimes you feel like something comedic. Sometimes you crave the firm grounding of realism; sometimes you crave the sweet escape of surreality. Sometimes you desire each of these things in rapid succession within the course of a half hour. Whatever your mood, bite-sized bits of entertainment keep you covered. 4. At long last, the world of theater has caught up with the digital realm. Five-minute plays and festivals abound you can now plow through a full-fledged performance in less time than it takes a busy barista to make your grande chai latte, skim, with whip. 5. Seems you suddenly do have time for theatre. Whether you're an actor looking for a quick warm-up, an instructor scrounging for tight scene exercises, or an everyday reader eager to speed-date some of today's most talented playwrights, 5-Minute Plays provides all the theater you need without killing all the free time you have. Why not give it a whirl?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love reading plays and collections of short plays are right up my alley. Not too long ago I read and reviewed a similar book (5-Minute Plays for Teens) by the same editor. This collection takes on the occasional more mature theme or just features older characters than the previous collection. Oddly enough, however, unlike the teen edition, not a single short play really stood head and shoulders above the rest for me. Some stood out as being slightly more interesting to me than others (A Very Short Play About the Very Short Presidency of William Henry Harrison by Jonathan Yukich and Modern Art Modeling by Rod McFadden) and only one struck me as particularly dreadful (The Psychic' Convention by John McKinney). Most, however, were tremendously average. But what do you expect from only five minutes worth of theatre? I was never a fan of the ten minute play, which maintains a strong fascination in the small theatre world, and I like the five-minute play even less. We don't get to know characters, but rely on stock characters and/or a setting to define who the characters are. We're thrust into the last moments of a conflict and really only get the 'punch line' of a story. This is a collection of play after play of 'surprise revelation' and it does get tedious. Short plays are great for theatres ... more plays means more cast members which means more families coming to see them which means more cash at the box office. But I wouldn't pay money to see a series of five or ten minute plays. I would, however, spend money to READ five and ten minute plays. I'm glad to have read this, and if I hadn't I would have been wanting to read it. However, having now read both this edition and the teen edition, I'm more likely to encourage readers to check out the teen edition for more interesting stories. I'm likely to use both editions when I (very rarely but occasionally) teach play-writing. Looking for a good book? 5-Minute Plays, edited by Lawrence Harbison doesn't contain many outstanding plays. An author or two shows promise, but nothing here will likely make the reader wish they were seeing the play live. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.