What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, correct? Well, not exactly ... SAT Playwrights artistic director Modrea Mitchell-Reichert organized Viva Las Vegas, a sin-city themed version of their usual 10-minute play festival that adds its own twist to the already challenging task of creating a short, well-executed play.
Although the SAT Playwrights aren’t actively involved with the play fest, two members of the group are having their works produced (including Mitchell-Reichert). Since the inception of SAT Playwrights in 2002, Mitchell-Reichert has held the rank of artistic director. This year, she wanted to do something different with the festival, starting with the venue choice of the Overtime Theatre: it’s only fitting for the groups to team up to put together an event of this caliber.
There were roughly 12 submissions to the festival with six plays selected. Mitchell-Reichert says the chosen plays offer “a balance” within all works being performed. The plays range from “farce to drama,” but of the lone drama Mitchell-Reichert says “it’s not a tense one” — allowing the event to be a PG performance suitable for children and adults alike.
Each production lasts 10 minutes or less and includes three of five elements — like being set in a fitness class, containing a broom, or asking the same question twice (answered differently each time). But the challenge shouldn’t be too hard for the talented troupe. Half of the group is comprised of established playwrights; only one newbie playwright is having her work performed for the first time. (Mitchell-Reichert is especially excited about this work.)
When it comes to the stage talent, some actors will be working, um, overtime as a few of the 15 actors slated to perform are being double-cast in other festival productions.
One of the actors (and directors) performing multiple tasks will be Overtime Theatre founder John Poole. Often zany production numbers and zanier characters is what Poole creates with Overtime’s productions, so it comes as no surprise that Mitchell-Reichert approached him to host the play festival.
“I love what `Mitchell-Reichert is` doing,” says Poole. He also boasts about the acting talent that the SAT Playwrights have managed to score: “Some of the best actors in town will be performing.” Poole, who will direct and act in two of the six productions, “wants to sink his teeth in something substantial” in the work he’s participating in during the festival.
The Overtime Theater is still fairly new but has managed to impress audience members with their commitment to bring fresh writing, visual art, and exciting performances to San Antonio — a task they’ve accomplished with productions such as Oedipus: The Musical! and their latest work, Flinch Gordon and the Return of Ping the Perilous. Poole and the rest of the theater are “tickled pink,” as he excitedly declared, about what Viva Las Vegas is bringing to their establishment.
Art will be on display from fiber artist Martha Prentiss and mixed-media works by Rebecca Coffey. A reception will follow the January 18 performance, and if you make the January 24 performance of Viva Las Vegas, you’ll be in for a treat with their usual Dice Night, where ticket-buyers roll the dice and whatever they roll, they pay. (If you fear rolling a pair of sixes, don’t fret: You can always opt not to participate.) •
Viva Las Vegas — 10 Minute Play Festival
7:30pm Fri-Sat, Jan 18-19,
2:30pm Sun, Jan 20
7:30pm Thu-Sat Jan 24-26
The Overtime Theatre
1216 West Ave