Short and Sweet Week 6 and Wildcards Week 7. (Theatre Review)
Short and Sweet
The Factory Theatre, Marrickville
Through to end of March – You can buy your tickets here.
Photo credits: Sylvi Soe
The Factory Theatre in Marrickville is buzzing at the moment with the final two weeks of the annual Short and Sweet theatre competition. I’m lucky enough to be a part of it this week, and its a small slice of thrill to be able to soak up the electric atmosphere, chat to theatre-goers about their watching experience and enjoy the hard-won results of the ten minute plays. It’s a writer, director and performers competition and standards of excellence fluctuate with each show, but sitting through ten plays of varying quality and discussing with your friends why one play excelled over another is part of the pleasure of the experience. The audience votes in Short and Sweet, and it’s no small thing to know you hold all that power, so even after you’ve voted for your mates play, that second vote gets to be your own voice determining success.
I attended Short and Sweet Top 80 last week, a week that included popular themes of computer matchmaking, criticism of our Governments position on asylum seekers, and very funny men in drag. Some fresher ideas emerged as well, like a tragic monologue about the last few days of one woman’s life (a harrowing true story), a defence attorney fighting for the rights of a cockroach, and a polar bear being seduced into life as a “solar” bear by an advertising executive. A favourite of mine was The Garage Sale, a beautifully mimed little tale of one woman’s joy turned to woe as no one comes to purchase her wares. The popular play on the night, as well as the judges choice was Speaking Freely (written by Jack Kelly) a very funny ten minutes about the differences between what we say on a first date and what we think.
As always with Short and Sweet, the quality of the writing is usually determined by the delivery, and there were some standout performances that made all the difference to the audience experience. Tom Green as the lawyer in A Bugs Rights (invited to the people’s showcase) was not only a win in his production, but a stand out across the night, wooing the audience with his performance that took full advantage of the rather hit and miss script he performed. I loved the work of Lisa Hanssens in The Garage Sale, as she combined mime and clowning and a Chaplin-esque performance that was beautifully directed by writer Wendy Crew (and my personal favourite) as the pathos we all know an understand overwhelmed at the end of an unsuccessful garage sale. Louise Gowing’s performance in A Bitter Pill was another gripping ten minutes, made all the more so with the revelation it came from a terrifying true story. It was a typical night at Short and Sweet in that some plays were better than others, but all had something to love and admire when it came down to it.
This weekend and dipping into Monday night, is the week 7 Wild Cards in which my play, Feather is a contender. Yesterday was our big day, having our first and only tech rehearsal, and getting to see the other plays we will compete against. The standard in our particular heat is high, with some beautifully written works like Strike (written by Aloise Stratford) the story of two characters written into a play meeting on a barren stage for the first time, and Winter Retreat (written by Abigail Somma). Plays cover themes of lives dominated by social media, mental illness and the reasons people might risk everything to break the law. There are some very funny plays and there are some heart warming plays, but every one of the ten plays on offer has something special to enjoy.
There is still time to grab tickets to tomorrow nights Wildcard night, and if you can’t make that, there is always week eight to attend. Even better, on the following weekend is the Wildcards gala finals and March 19-20 is the Top 80 finals night. There is still plenty happening at Short and Sweet and lots of great theater shows to attend. So grab a ticket and make sure you get a chance to really enjoy at least one of these fun shows.