PUHI — Life is short, and so are the plays at Women in Theatre’s biennial 10-minute play festival. Kaua‘i Shorts returns for a third season today through Sunday at Kaua‘i Community College Performing Arts Center in Puhi.
Twenty-two plays from around the country — some as far as New York — were submitted, and a panel of judges narrowed the selection down to 12 plays, said Romey Curtis, one of the founding members of WIT. These abbreviated plays run a gamut of emotions, touching upon love, relationships, death, family and tornados.
“Sometimes it’s surprising,” said Curtis about seeing the play’s transformation from words on a piece of paper to the stage.
“Sometimes you’ve read it and formed a impression, and someone has a completely different take on it,” she said. “That’s a very enjoyable part of it, seeing it come to life.”
Curtis, who is a producer of the festival, said the final selection showcases playwrights from Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, the Big Island, Oregon and California.
The 12 never-before-seen plays will make their debut during the festival — six works will be presented today, and six different works will be shown Saturday. Each night, a panel of judges will give an award for best comedy and best drama. Critics in the audience can weigh in with their own opinions by casting a vote for their favorite plays, which will be given the Audience Choice award.
The Sunday performance is a reprise of the award winners, plus a special performance of “Lights Out” from last season’s festival. “Lights Out” is a drama written by David P. Scott about two men trapped in the engine room of a sinking ship at Pearl Harbor.
Richard Porto returns as the master of ceremonies, who will, of course, be wearing shorts. Audience members are encouraged to don their best pair of shorts for a chance to win a prize.
There will be live entertainment throughout the festival, and aerial silk dancers are scheduled to perform Sunday.
During the Sunday performance, WIT will present the Anna Sloggett Award to a surprised individual.
The first Anna Sloggett Award was awarded in 2003, and past recipients include Carol Yotsuda, Laurel Petterson, Delia Valentin and Karen Firl.
“We decided we wanted to recognize people in the arts who have given years of their life. We especially wanted to recognize those people who didn’t get a lot of applause. They aren’t the people on the stage taking a bow,” said Roberta Cable, president of WIT.
“We named the award for Anna Sloggett because, as an educator, she is one of those people who quietly did things that needed to happen. She just got in, rolled up her sleeves and did what needed to be done. She’s very honest and reliable and has all those qualities that make organizations run well.”
A festival pass, which is valid for all three days, can be purchased in advance for $30. Tickets to nightly performances are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Tickets for students ages 12 to 18 cost $10 each.
Visit www.womenintheatre.org or call 635-3727 to purchase tickets or for more information about the festival.
“Teachable Moment” Written and performed by a teacher, this play is about a wide-eye educator whose expectations are changed after meeting a classroom full of children.
“Pulse” A play acted in real time about a man who has been taken off life support.
“Story of a Fly” An adaptation of a Japanese folk tale.
“Tornado Alley.” A farce about a husband and wife and what takes precedent during an impending disaster.
“You Are My Sunshine” A Hawaiian play based on the true life of a pianist who lives on Kaua‘i’s Westside.
“Heroine” A comedy about an author who is trying to write play but his characters don’t like what he’s writing.
“Drink” A comedy about a wife who condemns everything her husband drinks — from bottled water to a glass of orange juice.
“The Gift” A serious piece about a couple who comes to Kaua‘i to mend their marriage.
“The Girl Next Door” A play about God, where he is in second in command to the girl next door.
“Ladies of the Pond” A play about the soothing effects of music, featuring ‘ukulele music.
“My Family” A monologue about a nanny who reminisces about her family.
“Of Rats and Men” A comedy filled with surprising twists.