The '90s haven't been a great time for short one-acts. Except for a handful of anthology shows, most productions, on and off Broadway, have been of full-length plays, including 90-minute one-acts. New York^-based Ensemble Studio Theater's annual one-act marathon has become one of the last venues for professionally produced one-acts. Thus the festival's planners must encourage new talent as well as accommodate established playwrights. This collection of all the plays in the 1998 marathon showcases a good mixture of untried and veteran writers, with new work from greats like David Mamet and the late Shel Silverstein and plays by people who may never become household names. As in past years' collections, the best work turns out to be that of unknowns and nearly unknowns. The most moving play in the anthology, Scrapple
, about a father and daughter talking in the middle of the night, was written by a sometime actor, sometime playwright still struggling in New York City, Jennifer Mattern. Jack Helbig
About the Author
Marisa Smith is the Owner and Publisher of Smith and Kraus, a leading publisher of theater books since 1990. She has edited many books for Smith and Kraus and is the author/playwright of "Book Group" and "The Devine Comedy", recently presented at Eclipse Grange theater by Signal and Noise Productions.