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Performing Arts

Actors in “Crotchroaches,” written and directed by Tony Copper, of Xenia. (Photo by Reilly Dixon)

Annual Yellow Springs 10-Minute Play Festival returns

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The annual 10-Minute Play Festival, sponsored by the YS Theater Company, returns this year Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1, on the grounds of YS High School.

This year’s lineup includes 10 plays, and features the work of several local and area playwrights, as well as playwrights from Massachusetts, New York and California.

• “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Dog Door,” by Scott Bachmann, of Yellow Springs; directed by Ryan Hester. Bachmann, a writer of novels, graphic novels, illustrated books and plays and a returning contributor to the festival, writes: “I’m the web administrator for the YS Dog Park, and have been a part of it since long before it opened, so the subject matter of ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Dog Door’ is dear to me. I have three dogs of my own: a corgi, a golden and a mini husky.”

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• “Wicked Slice,” by John Busser, of Xenia; directed by Ellen Ballerene. Busser is an actor/writer/graphic artist from Avon, Ohio;  the co-runner of Cleveland Public Theatre’s writer’s workshop, The Dark Room; and the author of over 100 short plays. He writes of his golf-centric addition to this year’s festival: “I tend to write comedy, with dark comedy a favorite form. I do not play golf (other than putt-putt), but have noticed the rather obsessive nature of those playing it going to insane lengths to win. The tagline for ‘Wicked Slice’ is, quite literally in this case, ‘Because who doesn’t like a nice cut-throat game of golf?’”

• “The Ark is a Metaphor,” by Andrea Fleck Clardy, of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts; directed by Lorrie Sparrow-Knapp. Fleck’s short plays and monologues have been widely produced and included in numerous anthologies, and she is a member of The Dramatists’ Guild and New Play Exchange. She writes: “‘The Ark is a Metaphor’ started with my fear of the climate crisis and my amazement at how differently reasonable adults could interpret what was happening. I started wondering what it would take to bring together two people with irreconcilable views.”

• “Crotchroaches,” written and directed by Tony Copper, of Xenia. Last seen as Frankenstein’s monster in the Xenia Area Community Theatre production of “Frankenstein” in 2018, Copper is a longtime X*ACT member and playwright, with more than 20 plays produced. Of his latest effort for the 10-Minute Play Festival, which marks a return to theater after nearly five years, Copper writes: “I’ve always thought it would be interesting to be a fly on the wall as a band tried to come up with a name for their group. That’s what ‘Crotchroaches’ is about — a comedy about four friends with big dreams and big ideas.”

• “Magic Show,” by Anthony Fife, of Yellow Springs; directed by Lauren Shows. Fife is a writer, English teacher and longtime festival contributor who has again paired up with Shows, his wife, to produce a 10-minute play. Of this year’s offering, he writes: “I’m not sure where the idea for ‘Magic Show’ came from. I guess I just like the idea of digression, where a thing as advertised or intended never actually occurs. I also like it when people are caught dead to rights, yet they continue to deny their words or actions. Both of those things happen in this one.”

• “Ghosted,” by Roger Henry, of San Diego, California; directed by Shekinah Williams. Henry began writing stage plays in 2021, winning first prize in the San Diego Scripteasers’ 2022 competition, and has been hooked ever since, with plays produced from San Diego to New York in the following years. He wrote: “How did I come up with the idea for ‘Ghosted’? Let’s just say that I like to have the last word.”

• “Clown at Midnight,” by Jerry Holt, of Yellow Springs; directed by Amy Magnus. Holt, a retired Purdue professor and writer whose play, “Rickey,” enjoyed a national run, ending up at the Baseball Hall of Fame, returns to the 10-Minute Play Festival for his second year. He writes: “‘Clown at Midnight’ emerged from an interesting discussion that occurred in the class I am teaching about the nature of horror.”

• “Eddy & Edna,” by Donald Loftus, of New York City; directed by Jeremy Holtgrave. Loftus is an American playwright, librettist and lyricist whose work has been presented on stages across America; the United Kingdom; Surathkal, India; and Uppsala, Sweden. “Eddy & Edna” focuses on a married couple in their twilight years, and the sometimes tricky nature of memory.

• “No Trespassing,” written and directed by Sophie Mott. This production marks Mott’s first foray into playwriting for the 10-Minute Play Festival, about which the author writes: “This play was written with a touch of strange. Strangeness is the glue that holds the universe together. To look in the mirror and see over your own shoulder. To throw your voice down a hallway and have an echo of birds fly back. This story is bent and twisted around a tree of true events.  Place names may be mentioned, but people’s names are not. No hard feelings should be taken and no dogs were harmed.”

• “The Fence,” written and directed by Robb Willoughby, of Yellow Springs. Willoughby, a several-year participant in the 10-Minute Play Festival, is a playwright whose full-length and one-act works have received professional readings and productions across the country. Most recently, his comedy, “Roof Man,” was presented by the YS Theater Company. Several of his one-act plays, including “The Fence,” have been performed in festivals around the country in the last year. His play “Can’t Stop the WROK!” is currently a finalist for the Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival. As local audiences have come to expect from much of Willoughby’s work, “The Fence” turns on a comedic reveal, which the News will not spoil here.

Both performances of the 10-Minute Play Festival begin at 7 p.m., and those attending are encouraged to bring folding chairs, camp chairs or blankets for the outdoor performances. Suggested admission donation is $15.

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