Friday, June 14, 2013

In the Wings: The Inaugural 10-Minute Play Festival - Silent Treatment. Meet Scott Haan, the playwright and director.

Scott Haan wrote and directs Silent Treatment, one of six plays that are part of the inaugural 10-Minute Play Festival at Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette. The festival will be at 7:30 p.m. on June 21-22 at the historic Monon Depot Theatre in downtown Lafayette.

Question: How would you describe the action or conflict in Silent Treatment?
Scott Haan: Three friends meet for lunch, but two of them are baffled about why the third, usually an unstoppable chatterbox, is being so quiet and not saying a word to them.

Q: How did you initially become interested in playwriting?
S.H.: I've been involved in theatre since childhood, and it was a very gradual progression from acting to directing to eventually writing. I wrote my first play in 2007, and since then I've had 14 different scripts published and performed all over the world. At this writing, there have been 415 productions of my plays in five countries.

Q: How would you describe or categorize your writing style?
S.H.: I tend to write lighthearted comedies with an emphasis on dialog. Comedy is my favorite genre, not only to write, but also to direct, act in, and watch. There is nothing more gratifying to me than making an audience laugh.

Q: Had you written 10-minute plays before the festival was announced?
S.H.: Yes, I've actually had two others - Trapped and Byte Me - that have been published and performed throughout the U.S. However, the majority of my plays have been one-acts or full length.

Q: What challenges do 10-minute plays provide? How do you address those challenges?
S.H.: Ten minutes is really not that much time to establish characters, a conflict and a narrative structure, let alone resolve everything quickly. The challenge is to be economical with the storytelling and yet not feel like you're racing to pack everything in. Ten-minute plays are a wonderful writing exercise.

Q: How does it feel knowing your play is being produced at Civic Theatre?
S.H.: It's quite a thrill. This is my second play to be performed on this stage; the first, A Very Bad Day for Brandon Butterworth, was one of the first two world premiere staged readings here in 2008, along with another play by fellow 10-Minute Festival author Deborah Gray. Having lived in Lafayette most of my life, it means a lot to me to have new works debut here.

Q: How does it feel casting, directing and rehearsing your play?
S.H.: This is my eighth time directing one of my own plays, and I often find myself casting past collaborators that I trust and admire. This one is no exception. The cast includes Julie Doan and Erin O'Connor, two amazing actors I've had the privilege of working with several times before. And the third cast member, Whitney Freeland, is somebody I had never met until auditions, but she fits into the story and the group perfectly. This is exactly the type of experience that makes me love doing theatre, and appreciate how lucky I am.

Q: What has been the biggest surprise of this process?
S.H.: Probably the amount of talent here in Lafayette. In working with the other writers and directors, I've been very impressed with them and with the quality and diversity of the stories. They really run the gamut from comedy to drama and everything in between. And I was also pleasantly surprised by the talent at auditions; we had a great turnout, and more promising actors than we even had room for, which is a good problem to have.

Q: Fill in the blank: "It takes me more time to _____ than it takes to watch a 10-minute play."
S.H.: "shave in the morning (counting the time it takes to stop the bleeding)"

The inaugural 10-Minute Play Festival will be Friday, June 21 and Saturday, June 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the historic Monon Depot Theatre at 320 N. 5th Street - the corner of 5th Street and North Street - in downtown Lafayette. It is a Pay What You Can event, general admission tickets are available at the box office immediately before the event begins.

The mission of Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette is to enhance the artistic and cultural environment of Greater Lafayette through theatrical productions and educational opportunities.

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