This Friday and Saturday, the UNC Writing for the Screen and Stage Program will be presenting the Long Story Shorts Play Festival in the Studio 6 Theater of Swain Hall.
The festival will feature eight short plays that are each between nine and 12 minutes long. The short plays are written by students in the writing for the screen and stage minor, an exclusive two-year interdisciplinary minor that accepts only 18 particularly talented students per year.
In preparation for the festival, the student writers work closely with Professor Dana Coen to refine their scripts. Coen casts actors and recruits professional and semi-professional directors for each short play, which presents the student writers with a valuable opportunity to develop their work in a professional context.
“Probably the biggest benefit is to see the production being done in as close to a real-world production context as possible — both to see the directors and the actors’ process itself, but also to have the opportunity to provide input into how their pieces are coming to life, which isn’t always a luxury that they’ll have,” said Paul Sapp, director of two plays in the festival this year.
After the plays are scripted, the writers, directors and actors go through only one whirlwind week of rehearsal before performing, shortened drastically from the three-month rehearsal period in 2011 when Coen first launched the program. Coen said that the shortened rehearsal time makes it easier to recruit actors and directors.