The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday May 27th

International playwrights debut in Carrboro theater festival

The ArtsCenter in Carrboro will hold its 12th annual 10 by 10 in the Triangle festival starting Friday. The show features 10 short plays that are each 10 minutes long.

Jeri Lynn Schulke, the center’s artistic director, said The ArtsCenter received more than 750 play submissions from across the nation.

She said she was able to narrow the plays down to the top 10 based on determining what the center could realistically produce on-stage and separating the sketches from the plays.

“It is hard to write a 10-minute play, but it is easy to write a 10-minute sketch,” Schulke said.

“Plays have a beginning, middle, and end — the characters go through some kind of transformation. You want to see something happen to them.”

Schulke said the most exciting part of the process is the playwright’s gala, which is a reception held after each festival day with playwrights that the audience is welcome to attend.

“The audience has an opportunity to mingle and chat with the playwrights, so I think that’s cool,” she said.

One of the playwrights attending the gala, Mora Harris from Durham, is the festival’s most local playwright.

“I am probably one of the only playwrights who has gotten to meet with the director in person,” she said. “So it has been really cool to meet the actors and see what they are going to bring to the script.”

Harris wrote “What You Don’t Know,” which is about two people who clean up roadkill and try to identify the dead animals they find. She said the plot transforms into a discussion of the differences between what people chose to believe versus what is actually true.

Harris said she was excited for people to come out to see new works rather than traditional plays.

“I would really encourage people to come out and support new work,” she said.

“It is always exciting when a theater is doing new plays. It is so much easier to get people away from their TVs with old favorites that they know they like.”

England native Ian Bowater directed “My Name is Yin.” He said he chose the play, which is written by Tom Swift, because it was the most unusual play out of the ones he read.

“It is a lot of fun because of the way we do it — it opens the show,” he said.

Bowater said he was a screenwriter in Los Angeles after moving from England 25 years ago, but he recently decided to purchase a home in North Carolina.

“Since coming to North Carolina, I have enjoyed the welcome by the arts community,” he said.

“I really think The ArtsCenter is a phenomenal place — the music program and everything is great.”

Bowater said he thought the stars of the show are the actors who have parts in multiple plays throughout the night.

He said many of the actors during rehearsals showed him their creativity and things he had never seen before despite his years of experience.

“It can be the way (the actors) deliver one line, they perform some sort of action that makes you think in a different way,” he said.

“Whenever you’re working in theater, the best part is the actors.”

Schulke said she thought the center had also compiled a good cast, which ranges of actors between the ages of 20 and 70.

“I think this is a really great group we have assembled this year,” Schulke said.

“It is just a lot of fun, and it is going to be a really fun night of theater.”

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