Tastes vary, but these are some things I look for in a ten-minute play:
Does the play pull me in right away?
Lockdown opens with the kids huddled on the floor in fear - what's going on?;
in Violins the guy is arguing with what?; why does Hank in X-Ray Vision at
the Motel 9 think he can stare a cat to death?; Have Your Cake opens with a
young lady in bed with two guys - oh yeah.
Does the play surprise me?
Did not see that coming in The Mistress; the guy in Exercise in Ethics is
acting like that because - ohhh...; that Elevator Operator girl has such a sad - hey!; in The Nussbaum Project that lady left what out in the garbage?
Does the play make me laugh or well up? Or both?
Poor silly Poppy in Forget-Me-Not; Bill and his mom and Tom Cruise in Crop
Circles; that dear leukocyte of a boyfriend in Blood; what Mrs. Winthorpe, in
Oddboy's Metamorphosis, must have gone through all these years; Elsabeth
choking on fresh air in Creatures of Pleasure; that crazy cat Pellinore in Dog
Does the play have a dramatic struggle?
What are those violent jerks in Hot Apple Pie going to decide?; how will Ms.
Bailey respond to the unwelcome request in Ms. Bailey and the Colonel?; will
Peter let his mother go, in Lox Atop the Lincoln Tunnel?
Does the play mention German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer?
OK, I wrote Yule County and won't pretend to be objective about it - but any
play that mentions Schopenhauer automatically gets my attention - plus suicidal
depression on Christmas morning. But as I said, tastes vary.
Does the play blow my mind through sheer funky originality?
That crazy tattoo in The Accordion of Fate; the Grover Cleveland automaton,
the black coral and "Get the oat bag" in The Weirdness of New Jersey.
And finally, does the play have vivid characters in compelling situations? I think
they all do. So thanks to the playwrights for allowing Mergatroyd Productions to
present their work. And thanks to the actors and stage manager Debra for their
talent, time and industry.