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Take Ten II: More Ten-Minute Plays Paperback – November 11, 2003
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Actors, directors, producers and teachers will find Take Ten II an invaluable source of meaty roles for people of every age, ethnicity and gender; lovers of theatre will find it a richly satisfying read. These deceptively short plays throb with life in all its variety: harrowing, hilarious, and breathtakingly vital.
About the Author
Eric Lane and Nina Shengold have been editing contemporary theater anthologies for more than twenty years. Eric Lane's award-winning plays have been published and performed in the United States, Canada, Europe, and China. Plays include Ride, Times of War, Heart of the City, Dancing on Checkers' Grave, and Filming O'Keeffe. Floating, a PlayPenn finalist, was workshopped at Raven Theatre. Eric's short plays are published in Best American Short Plays, Poems and Plays, and the Foreign Language Press (Beijing). He wrote and produced the short films First Breath and Cater-Waiter, which he also directed; both films screened in more than forty cities worldwide. For TV's Ryan's Hope he received a Writers Guild Award. Honors include the Berrilla Kerr Playwriting Award, the La MaMa Playwright Award, and fellowships at Yaddo, VCCA, and St. James Cavalier in Malta. Eric is an honors graduate of Brown University, and artistic director of Orange Thoughts, a not-for-profit theater and film company in New York City.
Nina Shengold's plays include Finger Foods, War at Home, Homesteaders, and Romeo/Juliet, and have been produced around the world. Her one-act No Shoulder was filmed by director Suzi Yoonessi, with Melissa Leo and Samantha Sloyan. Nina won a Writers Guild Award for her teleplay Labor of Love, starring Marcia Gay Harden; other teleplays include Blind Spot, with Joanne Woodward and Laura Linney, and Unwed Father. Her books include the novel Clearcut; River of Words: Portraits of Hudson Valley Writers (with photographer Jennifer May), and a growing posse of pseudonymous books for young readers. A graduate of Wesleyan, she is currently teaching creative writing at Manhattanville College. Nina lives in New York's Hudson Valley, where she has been books editor of Chronogram magazine since 2004.
Top Customer Reviews
Lane and Shengold have not just assembled an anthology; they are on a mission to champion the ten-minute play as a distinctive and vital genre with its own rich history. In their introduction, they note that it's been "just over twenty-five years since the Actors Theatre of Louisville announced its first Ten-Minute Play Contest," and in their acknowledgements section they note further, "The number of theatres around the country producing annual ten-minute play festivals continues to grow." A simple Internet search revealed to me how accurate the co-editors are in their assessment of the strength of this genre.
Lane and Shengold promise "a crash course in the depth and diversity of the American theatre" in this anthology, and they more than fulfill this bold claim. Some of the most striking selections are as follows: "Antigone's Red," by Chiori Miyagawa, looks at the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. "Classyass," by Caleen Sinnette Jennings, is a comedy set at a college radio station. "The Cure," by Romulus Linney, is a one-character monologue told by a mountain midwife.
Also worthy of note: "Daniel on a Thursday," by Garth Wingfield, is a two-character encounter set in a gay bar. I really enjoyed Nina Shengold's "Emotional Baggage," a clever comedy in which actors play pieces of unclaimed baggage at an airport. "It's Not You," by Craig Pospisil," is an unsettling satire about friendship and choices set in a New York City subway car. Dael Orlandersmith's "My Red Hand, My Black Hand" is an exploration of biracial Black/American Indian identity that has dialogue written as poetry. Rich Orloff's "Playwriting 101: The Rooftop Lesson" is a deliciously absurdist piece about the art of writing a play. "The Sniper," by Anthony David and Elaine Romero, is a gripping drama about the relationship between an Israeli military sniper and a Moroccan journalist.
I found this superb anthology hard to put down. Lane and Shengold note that the best examples of the ten-minute play genre function as "miniature worlds." In this collection they have assembled a truly diverse and rewarding group of these little worlds. This book is a perfect companion for the original "Take Ten"; I recommend both anthologies enthusiastically.
If you haven't read ten-minute plays (or seen them performed in theaters), I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. This collection has something for everyone – an excellent variety – and would be a good place to start. Particular standouts in the book, I believe, are the pieces by Christopher Durang, Warren Leight, Claire Reeve, Sean O'Connor, and Rich Orloff. Very highly recommended.