The Ohio MFA Playwriting program has a weekly show called “Madness.” On Monday of each week one of the nine playwrights provides a prompt to his/her fellow playwrights. They write a short play (about 5 minutes), and the plays are put up in front of an audience on Friday nights. There are 18 Madnesses each academic year, and 18 short plays written by each playwright in addition to other full-length work.
Inspired by the self-production aspect of “Madness,” and wanting to circumvent the frustrating, time-consuming process of submitting one’s work for third-party theaters and festivals to accept/reject and/or produce, I decided to produce a night of plays written by myself and three other playwrights from the program.
I provided the prompt “Truck Stop” in early May, and asked that each play take place somewhere on the grounds of a ubiquitous travel oasis. Since that time, the three other playwrights and I have been writing and collaborating with each other to develop our work.
To balance and provide a different perspective on the characters and plot, I got four talented young female directors from different theater backgrounds to partner with the playwrights. The directors were put in charge of casting and bringing the scripts to life on stage in a very bare bones production with limited or non-existent sets and production.
The focus is on the stories, the storytellers, and the actors. It’s theater at its most basic. At the end of the day, theater artists want to tell stories that audiences want to see. CIC Theater has allowed 10-4: THE TRUCK STOP PLAYS to do just that.
We hope you enjoy our guerilla brand of theater, and appreciate it for what it is: raw, stripped down, and written for consumption not committees.
-Ryan Patrick Dolan