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Sunday May 16th

ArtsCenter presents series of short plays

10x10 play series shots
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Teaching the Greek titan Atlas about gravity, carrying out a murder plot and falling in love aren’t things you would expect to take place in only 10 minutes.

On Friday at The ArtsCenter, the locally based play series 10 By 10 in the Triangle goes into its second week of performances. The collection of ten 10-minute plays — ranging from dramatic to comical — continues in what is its 10th year.

10 by 10 in the Triangle

Time: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday
Location: The ArtsCenter

“It’s amazing that you can see such good plays in such a short amount of time,” said Jeri Lynn Schulke, artistic director of the center’s theater program. “And they’re all in one space.”

With an initial pool of more than 900 scripts, the field was narrowed down to roughly 25 pieces after several rounds of elimination, a process that began in January. After directors picked from the reduced pool, the cast of 10 actors began rehearsing in early June.

In addition to the traditional showing of 10 By 10, the series will also feature a “best of” iteration in honor of the 10-year anniversary. The anniversary show will feature a completely different cast of 10 By 10 actors from years past.

Schulke said that while the series is a challenge to undertake, it’s rewarding to all parties involved, from the actors on stage to the viewers in the audience.

“Usually, you have two hours but here we only get 10 minutes,” Schulke said. “The best plays take the characters on a journey.”

Geraud Staton, an oil painter and actor, performed in four pieces. He said it was an exciting process, but not without its pressures due to the number of transitions he had to make between directors and plays.

“This is the first time I’ve done anything like this,” Staton said. “For me, it was all about going from one transition to another. I even had to deflate the earth.”

Local playwright John Paul Middlesworth got to see his play grace the ArtsCenter stage, which featured plays from across the country.

Middlesworth’s “Exit Right” is a satirical piece that follows an elderly sage on the verge of death as he attempts to say something memorable before dying.

The play was inspired by famous last words uttered by the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Middlesworth said.

“I started asking myself, ‘What if he had said his famous last words and not died there, and then had to sit with his mouth closed till he died,’” Middlesworth said.

Middlesworth said he’s a frequent 10 By 10 patron and has served as a reader for submissions in the past.

“People will come to this show who don’t go to any other play during the entire year,” he said.

Staton added that despite the condensed preparation time, he loved performing for more than 600 people in the audience last weekend.

“You can see all of them looking back at you and you feel a moment of nervousness, but then you get into character,” Staton said. “We’re actors, we love to ham it up.”

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