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8x10's


Once again, the 8x10s' were, well, the 8x10's. Some good, some bad, some ugly. I think my piece, "Further Reflection," acquitted itself well, and got a very positive response from people (though I have yet to receive the written comments from attendees, but frankly, those are never very revealing anyway.) I think my biggest takeaway is that there are several points in the play where, as my MFA committee chair put it, "my subtext is showing." I was very excited about this script, but it didn't make the 10-Minute Play Slam at the conference in Valdez, so maybe it's not, in fact, all that.

The biggest issue I took with the 8x10's this year is that, as is par for the course, they don't seem to care much about accepting plays that hew very close to the 10-minute limit. In point of fact, only one play of the entire night came in under 10. Two were over 20! Even mine clocked in at about 13. Really, I'm not sure how hard it would be to just slap on a hard page limit, or just rename it a "short play festival" so we know what we're in for.

I also took some personal issue with one play, the wonderfully-titled "Jimmy is a Maple Bar," which is pretty much a transparent exercise in transgender-bashing: the schtick is that Jimmy declares to his friends that he is a maple bar trapped in a human's body. Ha-ha, transgendered people are sure wrong in the head, right? The playwright was trying to make an insulting point, but I actually thought the entire play worked at cross purposes to what he was trying to say. That's because Jimmy seems quite content with his decision, and the plot of the piece involves him and his supportive friends standing up to a bigoted (sort of) waiter. It's a story of people standing by their friend and wanting what's best for him, and in the end, I found myself thinking, "You go, maple bar!" Which is no way in hell what the playwright was going for.

It probably helps that I really like maple bars.


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