Short, but Sweet??? [by Sharu Delilkan]
Death, murder and suicide seemed to dominate the themes for Week 1 of Short + Sweet 2012. To be honest I could have done with a little more levity and a little less gravity. Thank goodness for the reprieve provided by The Lighthouse Keeper, Wisdom of Solomon and Supercide.
Speaking of Supercide, the reason this one is not being classified as dark and dismal in my books is because it was extremely cleverly written using familiar super hero references but in a pleasing tongue-in-cheek manner.
In case you haven’t seen Short + Sweet before, it is the biggest little play festival in the world – produces hundreds of the best 10-minute plays from across the globe each year and this is 2012 marks the third year in a row that the festival has taken place in Auckland.
Week 1 of the three-week festival staged 9 new productions, over more than two hours including a short interval.
For the most part the acting was of a pretty high standard, it was just a bit of a shame that some of the scripts didn’t stand up to these talents.
Of all the scripts 50 Guns, Hope and The Flowers could definitely do with further development. I felt that all these three pieces were written on a flimsy premise, and were predominantly designed to shock. But sometimes shock value is not sufficient to warrant an entire story, albeit 10-minutes long. And there is no question that those pieces were short but nonetheless these stories should be told in a distilled fashion, to create maximum impact. 50 Guns and Hope were also way too ‘in your face’. I would have preferred a little more subtlety, especially when dealing with sensitive subjects such as killing and abortion. Yes I agree these are very real topics that needed to be talked about but both their treatments just rubbed me the wrong way, particularly Hope which I found too melodramatic, leaving a bitter and not sweet taste in my mouth.
What was good about Week 1 of Short + Sweet this year was the calibre of the people committed to the new works. It was great to see the likes of Grae Burton, Leisha Ward Knox, Tom Sainsbury and Nic Sampson involved.
The entire production was run with the utmost precision, with the Festival Director Jonathan Hodge at the helm alongside Stage Manager Sums Selvarajan, with the exception of a slight technical hiccup bringing the interval forward but that didn’t bother me in the least. In fact although the second half had five plays as opposed to four in the first half, it appeared to go by a lot faster because there was humour and not as much angst-ridden content.
I am really interested in seeing the quality of scripts and performances that the next two weeks hold.
Well done Short + Sweet team for bringing back this vital festival to us three years in succession. Something we all should support for the next three weeks.
Short + Sweet 2012 is presented by Short + Sweet In association with STAMP at THE EDGE at The Herald Theatre until 6 October. Details see
Theatreview.org.nz review by Reynald Castaneda