By Cathi Grandfield
Theatre is one of the most communal of art forms. It is created only in community, by and for groups of people together. You can read a book, view a painting, listen to recorded music or watch a film in solitude, but when you experience a play, there are other living, breathing people in the space with you. Performers and audience share sound waves, brain waves. We make eye contact. Theatre impacts our thoughts and emotions by shaping our actual physical environment.
For centuries, communities have challenged and clarified communal values through theatre. It is one of the oldest art forms, dating from time immemorial when folks acted out stories around the campfire: stories of adventure, danger, hilarity, or romance. The art of theatre invites us to consider how we treat each other, how we choose to make peace or war. Together, we create a safe place to address our differences and disagreements through imagination. It is a place to challenge our assumptions, to deconstruct and reconstruct community values. It is an art for neighbourhoods.
How exciting to see new works of theatre created and performed by members of our own community in Thunder Bay! The annual 10x10 Play Showcase, sponsored in part by NOWW and the Ontario Arts Council, features ten new plays each year by local and regional playwrights, stories which challenge our common values and spur vibrant conversations, deep thoughts, and plenty of laughter. Last year, over 75 artists worked together to produce two sold-out shows.
What is a ten-minute play? This new dramatic form is a short but complete play, with a beginning, middle, and end. It is not a scene from a larger play or a comedy sketch with a single gag; rather, it presents deep character transformation within a specific time limit. Sometimes called the "haiku of the stage," and "a bolt of theatrical lightning," the 10-minute play has become an engaging and popular genre for today's theatregoers and playwrights.
The 10x10 Play InTENsive offers year-round support for developing theatre artists here in Thunder Bay through free workshops, online resources, a juried play selection, and an annual production of original ten-minute plays. The Fifth Anniversary 10x10 Play Showcase will take place in April 2017 in two performances at the Finlandia Club. Why not add your voice to this diverse production by submitting an original play (only ten minutes long!), applying to direct, or auditioning for an acting role? It will be an unforgettable experience for all theatre artists and audience members (recommended ages 16 and up).
A few writing tips:
For more information on this unique project, including all submission requirements, visit 10x10tbay.ca. Submission deadline is Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 5:30 pm. See you on stage!