Twenty-two short plays.
And all must use at least one of three words – run, set, take.
That’s the premise behind Central New Mexico Community College’s fall plays beginning on Nov. 10.
“The words – run, set, take – are three of the words in the English language with the most definitions,” says Leonard Madrid, chairman of CNM’s theater department. “The playwrights were challenged to write plays about their interpretations of one or more of the words.”
The plays range in length from one to five minutes and were written by regional playwrights, including Patricia Crespin, Anna George, Casey Mraz, Stephanie Gillo, Kevin Peterson, Leodis Smith, Susan Erickson, Madrid, Jason Witter, Shannon Flynn, Magdalene Gallegos, Gregory Moss, Sarah Lentz and Jay Muskett.
“The goal is to give local playwrights a chance to have their work seen in the community,” Madrid says. “They had about a month to finish the play, and we got started.”
Madrid cast an ensemble of eight actors, who play a variety of characters through the 82-minute show.
“One of the actresses plays eight different characters,” he says. “Then we have a young actor who plays five characters in a row. This gives each actor an opportunity to explore their range. It also gives a glimpse into the controlled chaos of theater.”
Madrid says one of the goals of CNM’s theater program has been to feature new voices. And this is the first event of its kind for the program.
“The short play is becoming a thing in the theater community,” he says. “It takes the same work that a regular work takes. The only challenge is figuring out how to put the show together. We’ve had to piece it together to make sure it runs smoothly.”
Madrid is also excited to feature local playwrights.
“Theater at its heart is a lesson in collaboration,” he says. “So many people go through drama classes or college theater and they don’t ever do plays by people who are alive or in their communities. This event gives the students a chance to experience both. They have the chance to meet the playwrights.”