BWW’s Friday Morning Workshop Took up the Playwright’s Challenge

Each year, the Vermont Playwrights Circle (VPC) seeks scripts for the Twelfth TenFest, a ten-minute play festival to be held at the Valley Players Theater in Waitsfield, Vermont.

Dick Matheson

At this morning’s workshop, Dick Matheson brought in a page from the current State of the Arts section of Seven Days. The article, Vermont Playwrights Circle Seeks ‘Fantasy’ 10-Minute Plays for Festival sparked a discussion about how we BWW members might respond. With a postmark deadline set for July 1, 2019, and a little over three weeks to work, we decided to set forth a general invitation to develop a collection of 10-minute plays written and workshopped by BWW members over the next few sessions. A “Vermont playwright” is defined by VPC as anyone who currently lives in Vermont, was born in Vermont or who has lived in Vermont for three months consecutively at some point in his or her life. 

According to TenFest founder and VPC board vice president Jeanne Beckwith, “The play can’t be just a dialogue. It has to have a beginning, a conflict and a resolution… It’s got to have everything that a full play has, but in 10 minutes.”   

A ten-minute play is usually no longer than 8-10 typed pages. Only plays with five or fewer characters will be considered. You may only submit one play and there is no reading/submission fee. The ten winning selections will be performed at “FantasyFest: A TenFest Halloween Extravaganza” opening on October 31 and running through November 3 at the Valley Players Theater in Waitsfield. The VPC website explains that the show will consist of  only plays on “…the fantastic, the weird and the wonderful.” Specifically, they are looking for plays of a “speculative nature, dealing with fantasy, fairy tales, science fiction, and horror.”

We hope to inspire you to create the concept for your 10-minute play first, as a short story, up for discussion. But if you become truly inspired over the next few days and want to start building a play here are some basic guidelines on one-act play writing and formatting. 

Standard Playwriting Format:

  1. Act and Scene headings are centered.
  2. Character’s names are centered and capitalized.
  3. Stage directions are indented one tab and italicized.
  4. Character’s names in stage directions are capitalized.
  5. Parenthetical stage directions are used for small actions.

I look forward to seeing what we can cook up each year!