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Aspiring Playwrights Get Their Big Break at Theatre Three

The Annual Festival of One Act Plays continues to entertain an eager and accepting audience at Theater Three.

For the 14th consecutive year this March, will be presenting its highly successful, Annual Festival of One Act Plays at the Ronald F. Peierls Theater.

“My favorite projects and plays are the ones that have never been seen before,” said Jeffrey Sanzel, the Executive Artistic Director of Theater Three.

The positive reaction surrounding the festival’s ongoing support of new, aspiring playwrights has led to a huge increase in the number of manuscripts submitted each season. Endorsements for the festival have come from international websites and literary organizations. Hundreds of aspiring playwrights from all over the world make multiple submissions every year with the hope of having their show performed in front of an eager and accepting audience. This season, Sanzel read through scripts from the United States, Canada, Israel, Hungary and even Russia.

Out of 504 plays submitted before this past September deadline, only six have made the final cut.

“We look for something that we react to, that you can hear and see,” said Sanzel.  

Selecting a play can be as daunting a process as writing one.

The reoccurring criteria for submissions each year is that playwrights present manuscripts less than 40 minutes in length (one page equals one minute in every script), with a cast of eight players or less. Despite what some might believe, writing a short script or play is often more difficult than a feature length production, due to the tightness that is required to successfully pull of a story that is rich in both character and thematic elements.

This kind of exposure is essential to every dramatist. Just like short films, one act plays function as a springboard for playwrights to launch their theatrical careers. At the end of each season, Theater Three presents each playwright with a video of their production to add to their portfolio.

This year, the festival features everything from lighthearted comedic pieces to stories that deal with adult thematic elements including alcoholism and infidelity.

The Body Politic, Cocktails, Anyone?, Fair Enough, FINDING LOVE@.COM, and Symphony For Two In L Minor will be making their world premiere on the theater’s second stage. Returning for the fourth time at the festival will be writer Fran Tangredi with his most recent piece entitled, Solitary.

“People come back because the festival is always different,” said Sanzel.

What makes this festival great for the audience is also what makes the experience great for the actors involved in the production. Each year, actors from all over the island get to tackle new and fresh roles in an atmosphere far more different than the one upstairs on the Main Stage.

Instead of being twenty feet away from one another, the audience sits on a set of bleachers so close the performers, that it literally makes them feel more apart of the action, rather than being mere observers. This sense of close acting makes the experience more intense for everyone-on stage and off.

The 14th Annual Festival of One Act Plays runs throughout the month of March.

Location: Theater Three

Show length: 2hrs 15 minutes

Price: Tickets are $14.00 at the box office. Admission is free to Early Bird subscribers.

Contains both adult subject matter and language. For a calendar of show times, visit the Theater Three website. 

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