Fells Point Corner Theatre is currently running something unique in theater – 10 plays at a glance. The "10x10" production is a compilation of 10 plays by 10 playwrights that run 10 minutes per play. It's the second year for the format and it's a hit with audiences who get to vote for their favorite play at the end of each production.
This year, 47 playwrights from across the country submitted 69 plays. Playwrights from Alabama, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Caroline andWisconsincontributed and a reading committee read and rated each play to select the final 10 for the production.
The plays run from serious, to charming, to disturbing, and it's amazing how much can be conveyed in a mere 10 minutes. Like marriage lost and found in "Seven-Eleven at Three;" like new love unveiled in "The Litnus, The Treasure, The Grumpus and Dave;" and sibling relationships in "Bring a Shovel."
My personal favorites? Anything with Anne Shoemaker in it. She shines in "The Litnus, The Treasure, The Grumpus, and Dave" where in a modern day (albeit 10 minute) Herculean adventure, she captures treasure and slays monsters to impress her one true love who is unaware of her devotion. The rhymed dialogue is tongue twisting and swift, but Shoemaker does an incredible job of imaging her adventures for the audience. It was charming to watch and experience.
Shoemaker was also notable in "Survey Pro," a clever spoof on those pesky telemarketers who tend to call just when you've settled into dinner or TV and then beg you to hold on for just one more question. In this tale, Shoemaker is a phone surveyor who can't identify her company but has a disturbing amount of information on her caller who does hold on to the end of the survey only to find out that all the questions make no sense to the final results of the survey. Dialogue is well timed and witty.
The beauty of "10x10" is the range of experiences that are captured for a mere moment in time but convey so much of the human experience. There's "Discovery Day" which poses the question – if you knew every detail of your future life by age 18, would it be a blessing or a curse? There's "Pre-Mortem" in which a man opens his front door to a stranger who informs him that he is scheduled to die and asks for help in completing his processing papers. And "People Like Us" in which two work colleagues who view themselves as outcasts due to physical deformities find commonalities to form a friendship.
Guaranteed – you'll find something you like at "10x10." It runs through April 29 at Fells Point Corner Theatre. After the April 29 performance, the audience can participate in a discussion of the plays.
The Plays of "10x10"
Bozookas by Sharon Goldner,Baltimore,MD
Bring a Shovel by Peter Davis,Baltimore,MD
Discovery Day by Amy Bernstein,Baltimore,MD
Hot Frog by Kate Bishop,Baltimore,MD
Kamasutra by Tom Coash,New Haven,CT
People Like Us by Chris Swanson,Westerville,OH
Pre-Mortem by James Walczy,Bethesda,MD
Seven-Eleven at Three by Christine MacReady,Lancaster,PA
Survey Pro by Geoffrey Welchman,Baltimore,MD
The Litnus, The Treasure, The Grumpus and Dave by Andy Grigg,Chicago,IL