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Saturday January 22nd

The 10 By 10 in the Triangle festival features playwrights from around the nation and world

	<p>Mary Rowland and Geraud Staton perform in &#8220;It&#8217;s What&#8217;s for Dinner.&#8221;</p>
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Mary Rowland and Geraud Staton perform in “It’s What’s for Dinner.”

For director Sylvia Mallory, a 10-minute play is more powerful than a full-length, multiple-act production.

Mallory directed “It’s What’s For Dinner,” one of 10 short plays featured in the annual 10 By 10 in the Triangle one-act festival competition produced by the Carrboro ArtsCenter.

“The 10-minute play is not any different from a full-length play,” said Mallory. “In fact, it can pack a bigger punch.”

More than 500 entries from around the world for the festival were whittled down to 10.

“All 10 of the plays are really strong plays, whether they are light romantic plays or really absurd plays,” said Jeri Lynn Schulke, producer of the show.

This Saturday from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m., the 10 playwrights and the public are invited to attend the Playwrights Gala at the ArtsCenter.

“There’s a level of intensity with one-act plays that’s unique to the format,” said Tyler McClain, author of the festival play “Northern Lights”.

The entire production costs less than $10,000.

During the last rounds of selection, Schulke read each of the plays for viability of production.

“We try to keep it fairly lean, which is comparable to everything we do,” said Schulke. “We have a simple set, not many multiple locations.”

The characters in the plays must also be played by an actors’ ensemble.

The show starts with a dancing banana, introducing, “It’s What’s For Dinner,” which is about talking foods in a refrigerator.

“A common thread in a 10-minute play is that it usually uses a sense of humor,” Mallory said. “They (the grass fed beef and locally grown kale) talk about being leftovers and how terrible it is to not be eaten, and to be forgotten in the refrigerator.”

Though short plays can be light, jovial and fun, they still have a meaningful message behind them, she said.

“The ultimate crux of the play — unless your behavior changes, nothing will ever change,” Mallory said. “It doesn’t matter that it’s coming from the refrigerator.”

Alternatively, some of the short plays explore the dramatic facet of theater.

“This was a tribute to all the romantic comedies I’ve seen over the years,” said Aishwarya Jha Mathur of her first play, “Meet Cute.”

“The whole focus was always on the banter between the two characters,” she said.

She said she tried to model her characters after the interesting and witty characters in Georgette Heyer’s novels, in contrast to many movie characters.

“There may be humor in movies, but it turns crass sometimes,” Jha Mathur said.

Jha Mathur participated as an actress in the international 10-minute play festival, Short and Sweet.

Many writers said despite the brevity of the plays, they still treat short plays as full-length plays.

“For me, a fully realized 10- minute play is contained and more than just a scene,” writer Jonathan Yukich said.

Jonathan Graham, whose play will show at the 10 by 10 festival, has been a playwright for 25 years and has seen the popularity of 10-minute plays increase.

“Now, there are a lot more theaters calling for 10-minute plays,” he said.

“There is a certain impatience in our culture,” Graham said. “(Theater) is very old fashioned; the art form needs to continue to evolve to be relevant to people.”

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