A highlight for many during the High Performance Rodeo is the 10 Minute Play Festival. While many companies travel to Calgary to take part in this intensely creative theatre festival, our own local companies have a daunting task ahead of them. The assignment: create a 10-minute play in less than 24 hours. The participants from independent theatre companies from across Calgary are given only a few bits of inspiration to get started, like a line of dialogue and a prop, and the rest is up to them.

What emerges is a intense, creative theatrical experience. Audiences are treated to 10-minute bites of inspired, caffeine-addled performances generated in in a highly-pressurized creative environment. With only one 24-hour period to come up with a piece of theatre, members of each of these companies are forced to take leaps of faith with each other. Without time to over-think or analyze, some very unexpected results as impulses and ideas run rampant.

Past participants include Urban Curvz, Swallow-A-Bicycle, Downstage, The Shakespeare Company, Ellipsis Tree Collective, and Dirty Laundry. Each company brings their own team to the table, with a wide variety of talents and sensibilities. There aren’t many restrictions except for the time limit, so really, anything goes.

The time crunch imposed on the festival can be stressful, but can also generate some extremely compelling theatre that might merit further development and become a new play. If you’re interested in taking in a buffet of fresh new work from exciting local companies, this is the event for you.

Jan. 11. Martha Cohen Theatre.

By Geneviève Dale

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