The Fastest Play I Ever Wrote

Last weekend, I wrote a play in the shortest amount of time I’ve ever done it — and as a member of PlayGround, where we write 10 minutes in four days, that’s saying something.

Magic Theatre had a fundraiser a while back, and one of the items up for bid was an Instant Play in your house. Sunday was the party, and I was asked to be the playwright, with Magic AD Loretta Greco as director and Lauren Spencer, Jessica Kitchens and Patrick Jones as actors.

We arrived, got suggestions from the attendees and, while everyone was drinking wine, I disappeared into a back room and wrote a five-minute long play in 30 minutes!

To add to the challenge, we had a number of oddball suggestions that had to be incorporated, including:

  • a Sam Spade-like detective
  • a pregnant 50-year-old lesbian
  • the oldest living World War I veteran
  • four random lines of dialogue, including “The promises of women might as well be written on water”
  • a coal mine
  • and two songs, “Love Me Or Leave Me Alone” and “Those Were The Days My Friend.”

Somehow, I made it all come together into a coherent story. The actors did great, with Lauren even making up a gorgeous melody to “Love Me Or Leave Alone” since none of us knew how it went. And (spoiler alert) it ended with an audience sing-along.

So, if I can do a five-minute play in 30 minutes, why does it take me four days to write a ten-minute play? And I guess I should be able to write a full-length in about 9 hours. Maybe on Saturday.