Out of Ink 2012: Sound Off
Eight playwrights wrote 10-minute plays, and the audience lived happily ever after
Reviewed by Jillian Owens, Fri., April 27, 2012
Out of Ink 2012: Sound OffBlue Theatre, 916 Springdale, 454-9727
Through April 28
Running Time: 1 hr., 50 min.
Once upon a time, there was a playwright who struggled to make ends meet, crushed by the decline in live theatre attendance and her inability to brand herself. But fortunately, this starving artist lived in Austin, where a magical company called ScriptWorks supported her writing process and even offered to stage one of her plays. "But," said Executive Director Christina J. Moore, "there's a catch. Your play must last no longer than 10 minutes –" At this, the playwright's eyes widened. "– and you must write it in 48 hours."
"Impossible!" said the playwright. "It can't be done."
"Wait! There's more!" said Moore, who was the ringleader of the 14th annual circus of 10-minute plays called Out of Ink. "Your play must also have 300 characters and take place over 3,000 years. It must include a children's song, game, or fairy tale. And it must feature a sound that everyone hears differently." The playwright's eyes narrowed in concentration and she felt creativity bubble up inside her.
"Let's do this," she said, mentally smearing war paint on er cheeks.
And she toiled, and her hard work was rewarded richly: A stellar consortium of local actors, directors, and designers brought her play to life alongside seven other 10-minute creations. The delightful evening of new works kept the audience leaning forward, wondering earnestly how each playwright would incorporate the three arbitrary ingredients. The plays were a hodgepodge of different worlds. Some were hilarious, like Aimée Gonzalez's "Ms. Edwina Backle's Appointment," about unexpected, rambunctious criminals in a library, and Chronicle reviewer Elizabeth Cobbe's "Unfair Practices at the DPS," which pits the princess and the frog story against the horrors of waiting in line for 3,000 years to renew your driver's license. And some of the plays were poignant and sad, like C. Denby Swanson's "The Greeks," about a woman letting go of the foster child for whom she has so tenderly cared, and Amparo Garcia-Crow's "Ocean Song from a Desert Place," a delicate hymn to female journalists trapped in a Baghdad jail cell. Perhaps the most inventive was Trey Deason's "The Many Suicides of Molly McVeigh," featuring a woman with 298 different personalities, one of whom may be her analyst's deceased teenage crush.
Moore and our proud playwright heroine sat stage right side at the Blue Theatre and could even see everything that was happening onstage – the skilled directors had staged the plays so that no audience member was left behind. The fearless actors performed with gusto, and the designers lovingly transformed the space for each play. "A success!" the playwright said in victory. And, as the story goes, she made tens and tens of dollars.