THE brief was brief. Each writer had to create a “micro play based on that most enigmatic, emotional and exuberant adventure we call life”. Each should be a maximum of 500 words and feature usually two characters.
The result was Thirty Little Plays About Life, penned by a host of writers from York and beyond, such as Hannah Davies, Tom Strasz, performance poet Henry Raby, Sarah Sturdy, Oli O’Shea and Michael Lambourne, leader of a York Theatre Royal acting course, whose students performed the pieces last Friday and Saturday.
For many among the 32, these vignettes marked their stage debut, and as short, sharp pieces they were the perfect bite-sized introduction after ten weeks of Monday classes.
The project also brought new writers to the fore, making it a doubly productive showcase for new talent to be spotted and given further opportunities.
The micro-plays took the form of conversation pieces, almost in the manner of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s Derek and Clive vignettes – albeit much cleaner – or Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones’s head to heads.
However, whereas those two partnerships had years of working together, one of the challenges here was to create an instant chemistry between each duo, when faced with such a fleeting chance to make their mark. The best avoided going over the top, instead trusting a script’s strengths and playing off each other.
Little Plays was a big success. No wonder Lambourne has plans for Thirty Little Plays About Love and Death.