Tiny but potent plays

Comedy, intrigue and drama’s all in the mix for Remarkable Theatre’s upcoming Pint-Sized Plays competition.The concept originated in Wales but is now an annual event in Queenstown.

This week, eight new pint-sized plays, each about 10 minutes long, with no more than three actors, and minimal set and staging, will be performed in Arrowtown, Frankton, Bannockburn and Queenstown.

Each night the audience chooses a winner and on the final night, at Yonder, the overall winner will be announced — they’ll take home a pint mug, and be offered the chance to enter the Pint-Sized Plays comp in Wales.

Adding to the theatre of it all, playwrights are all completely anonymous, even to the actors.

‘‘It’s all very clandestine,’’ Remarkable Theatre vice-president Melanie Grindell says.

‘‘In a previous competition, it turned out that someone acting in a play was actually the writer of the piece.

‘‘It makes for unbiased voting.’’

Flashback: Ana Ledesma, left, and Vanessa Williams who are performing in The High Priestess, one...
Flashback: Ana Ledesma, left, and Vanessa Williams who are performing in The High Priestess, one of this year’s Pint-Sized Plays entries

And for the audience, if one play isn’t their cup of tea, they only have to sit through a few minutes before something else is on stage.

Last year’s winning play was, essentially, a husband and wife arguing, she says, noting this year’s entry also include a couple slice-of-life plays.

Grindell says she loves the concept because ‘‘it’s all-encompassing’’.

‘‘It’s essentially a writing competition, a great way for new actors to get involved and for people to try directing.’’

While there are a couple of newbies hitting the stage next month, Grindell’s also trying something different; she’s in charge of sound and lighting.

Pint-Sized Plays, Arrowtown Athenaeum Hall, Thursday; Te Atamira, Remarkables Park, Friday; Bannockburn Hall, Cromwell, Saturday; Yonder, Queenstown, Sunday. All shows from 7pm, tickets $25 via Eventbrite.

By Leeanne Malcolm