BWW Reviews: Worlds Collide in Fusion Theatre's Theatrical Sampler,THE SEVEN
Since its launch in 2003, Fusion Theatre Company's festival of short works, THE SEVEN, has established itself as one of the premier theatrical events of its kind in the country and even beyond.
Playwrights from around the world are invited to submit a mini play, about 15 minutes in length, based on a common theme selected each year by the theatre's own patrons. This year's theme is 'Worlds Collide.' Works are then submitted, anonymously, to a panel of experts, who are faced with the challenging task of reading them all and selecting just seven for full production.
This year's event attracted almost 600 submissions from 38 states and 8 different countries. The winning entries, spanning states from California to New Jersey and featuring playwrights young and old, male and female, were transformed from words on a page to live performances in record time, less than a month, opening at Fusion's home base, The Cell Theatre, on June 5th.
Each playlet has its own director and cast of characters, which this year includes two talented young teenagers. Presenting several different productions in one evening, each with its own distinctive setting, means that props are necessarily minimal, since they have to be swiftly changed between performances. But, assisted by effective lighting, they are more than sufficient for the purpose, conveying the scene and creating the appropriate environments quite adequately.
Creating a mini theatrical piece, as opposed to a full length play, is a challenge comparable with writing a short story instead of a novel; at its best, it's art concealing art. In order to succeed, working on such a small scale requires a beginning, middle and end, and a story that engages and inspires the reader, or audience, to become emotionally involved - not such an easy task.
I personally felt that not all of this year's entries fulfilled that requirement, which was surprising considering the number of submissions received. My personal favorite was, A DISAPPEARING, by Mark Wyss, a playwright from Wisconsin. His three character piece is original, funny, well-constructed and deals with subject matter that just about everyone can relate to and is also likely to provoke lively post-show conversations.
By contrast, also worthy of mention is THE SECRET KEEPER, by David Meyers of New Jersey. This is a simple but poignant piece, basically a conversation between two strangers, dealing with a completely unexpected and unexplored issue arising from the war in Afghanistan. The pin-drop silence that filled the theatre for this one, was a clear indication of its effectiveness.
THE SEVEN is always an interesting and rewarding theatrical event, giving both established and emerging playwrights the opportunity to have their work exposed to a much wider audience. Here's hoping it continues to flourish for many years to come.
For complete details, visit www.fusionabq.org. THE SEVEN runs through June 15th.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Fusion Theatre Company