Published August 25, 2010
(Photo courtesy sarasota.anythingarts.com)
The 5th Annual Got a Minute? Play Festival brings out the best for a great cause
Got a Mintue? 60-Second Play Festival: 8 p.m. Fri. and Sat., Aug. 27-28, 2 p.m. Sun., Aug. 29, The Players Theater, 838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 365-2494 or theplayers.org, moffitt.org, $20 Fri. and Sun., $30 Sat. including after party.
Roughly 18 lines of dialogue in 60 seconds — those are the parameters in which actors will be working to completely develop a character and present an entire play at The Players Theatre this weekend. It’s quite a feat, but as this is the 5th anniversary of the Got A Minute? 60-Second Play Festival, Players Artistic Director Jeffery Kin has learned how to make it happen. “It’s just organically grown out of people’s desire to write the plays and the actors wanting to be involved with it,” says Kin. “People are challenged by it, and the audience is challenged too.”
Kin first launched the festival as a way to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure, after his mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. He called on friends Bob Trisolani and Pam Wiley to help him produce a series of one-minute plays through his Eclectic Theatre Company. They rented space at the Back Lot and ended up bringing in $11,000 for Susan G. Komen. They decided to try it again the next the year, this time raising $20 grand for the Amercan Cancer Society.
After Kin was offered the Artistic Director position at the Players, the community theatre agreed to host the next two installments, both benefitting the Moffitt Cancer Center. “It’s a great thing for The Players Theatre to be involved with,” says Kin. “It’s a great community, conscious-raising collaboration and that’s what Players is really all about.” To date, the Got a Minute? festival has raised over $70,000 for cancer. This year they’re looking to break $100,000.
The whole idea behind the festival, 60 one-minute plays revolving around the theme of overcoming adversity, came from a conversation Kin and his mother had with a doctor after she had asked about reconstructive surgery. The male doctor said, “For a woman, having reconstructive surgery is like choosing what color dress to wear today,” to which Kin replied, “Well doctor, what color dress do you usually wear,” leaving Kin and his mother laughing hysterically. Kin went home and wrote a one-minute play about the incident called “Laughter in the Face of Adversity,” then put out a call for other one-minute submissions.
The team decided to give this year’s festival a real anniversary feel, bringing back the best plays from the first four years as well as their favorite new submissions. Each year will have its own segment with a different director given free artistic reign over the plays from that year.
One of the most remarkable things about Got A Minute? is the purely unfiltered charity. “We can say to an audience member, ‘All the money you spend when you come in the door — from your tickets, to the Chinese auction tickets, to the raffle things — 100 percent of that goes to our cause.’” says Kin. “Everybody’s a volunteer. Nobody makes a dollar. And that’s the way it’s always been.”
This will most likely be the last year of the festival’s traditional format, as Kin plans to start accepting longer plays next year. But the motivation behind the show will always remain. “If it wasn’t for [my mom] I never would have started this,” says Kin, “so it’s kind of weird how life throws you bad situations and you make the best out of it.”