The Hippo


Apr 26, 2019








Courtesy photo.

“Three One Acts” 

When: Fridays, Aug. 18 and Aug. 25, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Aug. 19 and Aug. 26, at 7:30 p.m.; and Sundays, Aug. 20 and Aug. 27, at 2 p.m. 
Where: Hatbox Theatre, 270 Loudon Road, Concord 
Tickets: $16.50 for adults, $13.50 for students, seniors and members 
More info:, 715-2315

In short
Hatbox Theatre premieres three one-act plays

By Angie Sykeny

 For the past three years, the three remaining members of the Granite Playwrights have been developing their own one-act plays, meeting periodically to read and critique each other’s work. Now, those plays will be brought together and performed for the first time in “Three One Acts,” which opens at the Hatbox Theatre in Concord on Friday, Aug. 18. 

The show consists of three distinct one-act dramatic comedies ranging from 10 to 40 minutes long, performed by independent actors as well as actors from the Community Players of Concord, Lend Me a Theater and the Boston Playwrights Theatre. 
“The Hatbox allows [playwrights] to present new material, which is a wonderful feature of the venue,” Granite Playwrights member George Kelly said. “It’s very intimate — [the venue] seats about 100 people — and these plays are beautifully suited for that kind of venue.” 
Kelly’s play, titled Analog, tells the story of a college English professor whose reluctance to join the college in its push toward new technology puts his job at risk. He finds a kindred spirit, however, in a young poet, who also believes in a more traditional approach to learning. 
A professor himself, Kelly said the inspiration for the play came, in part, from his own experience. 
“There is a demand to do things more electronically rather than with human interaction, and I’ve rebelled a little against that,” he said. “The inspiration [for the young poet character] came from a young lady who was in my class … who told me, ‘I like the feel of a book in my hands’ … and I used that as one of the lines in the play.” 
The shortest play, The Flight of the Bartailed Godwit, written by J.J. Hunt, follows three elderly women as they search for meaning in their lives at a nursing home. 
“It deals with some weighty subject matter,” Hunt said. “It shows how [the women] adapt to a living situation and relationships that they haven’t necessarily chosen, and they’re figuring out what it means to be essentially warehoused at the end of one’s life and how to make their life mean something.” 
The third play, Soup’s On, written by Alan Lindsay, involves two brothers preparing for the arrival of two women they’ve invited over for dinner. As they argue over what to make for dinner, deeper tensions between the two come to light. 
“The bulk of that play is about verbal wit,” said Hunt, who is co-directing the play with Lindsay. “It’s about a contest of wills and philosophies between the two brothers as they hash out their disagreements and differences.”
In some ways, Hunt said, writing a 10-minute play can be more challenging than writing a longer, multi-act play, the biggest challenge being arriving at the heart of the story quickly, with little time to develop the characters and the plot. 
“It’s like when you read the first page of a novel; you have no idea what universe you’re entering into. And [with a short play] you have to get the audience into your universe in the first minute or two,” she said. “But I enjoy trying to figure out how to do that.” 
Kelly said that with all three plays premiering together in a single show, it’s probable that people will like at least one of the plays and be able to enjoy the show overall. 
“It gives people more variety, and I think that’s why [one-act plays] are so popular these days,” he said, “as opposed to a three-act play, where the plot and the conflict and the characters aren’t going to change, and you either like it or you don’t.” 
“It gives you the opportunity have several different experiences in one night,” Hunt added. “You can see something new and different that you haven’t seen before without committing to a $200 ticket [for a longer play], then discovering 30 minutes in that you hate the thing.”  

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