Early this year, Romey Curtis and Women in Theater announced they were looking for a few good plays.
They got them. Try 125. And some were “absolutely opus.”
The best of those submissions will be on display this weekend as WIT presents its fifth biennial “Kauai Shorts 10-Minute Play Festival.” There will be 16 plays by 16 playwrights put on at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center — eight plays each night.
Curtis, the festival’s chair and WIT director, promises a wonderful time for guests, who not only get to watch creative plays, but vote for their favorite play via an applause meter. The louder the cheers the better for that play.
“Of course, it will be a comedy,” Curtis said. “It’s always a comedy.”
The new and original plays range from hilarious to serious, evocative to provocative. Some cast members and directors are involved in more than one play.
Playwrights had the green light to write about any subject suitable for a general audience. Topics included love stories, spy stories, murder mysteries, anything goes. Each carries distinct themes, plots and thoughts.
“One of the things I like about this year is the variety,” Curtis said.
A panel of judges will choose the best drama and the best comedy, and the audience will vote for their favorite play.
There will be plenty of choices.
“You might not think much of one, but the next one coming up is just your cup of tea,” she said.
Some of the plays in Kauai Shorts promise to take viewers on a captivating ride. There’s “At Least I Got Out of My Pajamas,” by Sheila Rinear; “A Dream Come True,” by Andy Melamed; and “A Murder of Crows,” by Lee Richard Lawing.
One is a story about the dreams and lives of a husband and wife. Another “mixes macabre with a dash of humor.” The “Bone Peddlers” by Leslea Kroll is a “cautionary tale” that takes place in a world when all the fossil fuels have run out and the only fuel left is bones.
This year’s submission’s were read and judged by an English professor, a college drama professor and a stage director.
“With great restraint, I excluded myself from the process, although I read every play with relish,” Curtis wrote.
WIT has ironed out the process of turning screenplays into short stage productions. For the 10-minute plays to work, they must have a few characters, a simple set, usually a table and two chairs set in a home, office or cafe, and a story that pulls in the audience.
“But it needs to go somewhere,” Curtis said.
A few submissions, she added, were well written and had interesting characters, “but they didn’t go anywhere. They were just people talking.”
A hook is helpful, something that will quickly engage and hold the attention of the audience.
“It’s good if the end gives you a little twist,” Curtis said.
The festival is held every other year. It’s a popular community event because it involves many locals who appreciate the support of their friends and neighbors and will look forward to their applause and perhaps winning the coveted favorite play according to audience screams.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Curtis said.”It’s a long time coming.’
Tickets are available at www.womenintheatre.org and at the door. They are $20 in advance; $25 at the door; $35 in advance for both nights.