Make breakfast. Go for a bike ride. Watch one third of an episode of Friends. (Who here loves Chandler? I know I do!) What do these things all have in common? If you said that these are all things you can do in 10 minutes you would be correct! Why am I obsessing about time, you ask? Well, it just so happens that this Saturday is KVTA’s 10-Minute Play Festival!
This event is the only one of its kind in the Kankakee area. Authors and aspiring playwrights from Illinois, and around the country, compose short plays and submit their writings to a committee for review. Each play must be – you guessed it – 10 minutes in length. The pieces are then reviewed and selected for production. Directors are chosen, auditions are held, and off we go.
One of my favorite parts of the play festival is seeing all the new faces hit the stage to perform. With no music or dancing plus very minimal staging and costumes, these plays rely solely on the acting chops of both the directors and actors who are portraying these characters. Although we know we all love a good show stopping dance number, straight plays are a nice palette cleanser and sometimes tend to draw a different performing crowd. I’ve been involved with KVTA for six years now, but with each new play festival I’ve been excited to see brand new actors and actresses take the stage. This festival truly is a distinctive way to expand our local theatre community.
I had the chance to sit in on one of the dress rehearsals for the play festival and I was not disappointed. One of the new faces I saw was Chris Wisniewski, who was also just cast in his first musical, The Addams Family. The play festival will be Chris’s first time on stage. However, he’s no stranger to the theatre world. His wife, Victoria Wisniewski, recently cast as Morticia in The Addams Family, has been itching for her hubby to get involved with performing for quite some time. After some prompting from his better half, Chris decided to dive into the theatre waters head first! In the 10-Minute Play Festival Chris portrays a character named Jean Luc in Chances, a comedic piece about love gone sour and the pitfalls of relationships. Not only does this role require great comedic timing, but a good amount of memorization and a saucy French accent! I got the chance to chat with Chris for a few minutes at rehearsal. I was curious what it was like auditioning as a first-timer. “[It’s] more nerve wracking than I thought. But if you give it your all it isn’t that scary.” When I asked Chris if he would audition again, his answer was a resounding, “Yes.” That’s what we like to hear.
You can catch Chris, plus all of the other new faces, and even some familiar ones in KVTA’s 10-Minute Play Festival this Saturday at 7pm on the 4th floor of the Kankakee Public Library. Tickets are only $10 and all tickets can be purchased at the door. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to catch some awesome performances and to cast your vote for the AUDIENCE CHOICE WINNER. We hope to see you there!
Last Man Sitting written by John McGarey
Directed by Paul Snyder
Characters ~ Gary: Alex Hamilton; Pat: Gaston Beltran;
Lee: Connor Brooks; Boss: Teri Cline
Chances written by C.J. Rose
Directed by Jill Shapkauski
Characters ~ Amelia: Kathleen Payne; Jean-Luc: Chris Wisniewski;
Landon: Michael Keigher; Hank: Bryan McGarey
Your Food is in Another Castle written by Rebecca Musgrave
Directed by Macks Milner
Characters ~ Mark: Tober Corrigan; Guard: David Prussner;
Queen: Jill Shapkauski; Prisoner: Stephanie Wiersma
The fate of a faithful immigrant written by Lind Grant-Oyeye
Directed by Joel Knapper
Characters ~ Person 1: Bryan McGarey; Person 2: John McGarey; Woman: Anna Van Hoff
Heart Full of Wine written by Warren Levi Haney
Directed by Robin Tober-Betourne
Characters ~ Walter: Tober Corrigan; Darlene: Molly Knapper
So, Nebraska? written by A.E. Sarver & Michael Keigher
Directed by Debbie Emling
Characters ~ Michael: Gaston Beltran; Ashley: Deborah Frisse; Jim: Bill Shapkauski
2016 Audience Choice Award Winner
FOLLOW THE LEADER written by Linda Stone
Directed by Rozy Labriola
Characters ~ Bob, Jim, & Stephen: Joel Knapper; Donna, Alice, & Myra: Stephanie Wiersma;
Todd, Rusty, & Kevin: Paul Snyder; Heather, Grace, & Bethany: Julieta Cline
Narrator ~ Allison Beasley
Judges ~ Stefan Benoit, Deena Cassady, Tober Corrigan, Drew Marcotte, Miles Turner