The audience is so close that they will be part of your play - You can use the audience as part or your play. In previous Micro Theatre plays the audience has been, among other things; members of a school reunion, contestants at a speed dating night and participants in a self help seminar on happiness.
The audience like to be surprised - Micro Theatre audiences have become used to the unexpected – it is one of the things they like about Micro Theatre. Characters have also been café staff and gallery owners, sitting as an audience member and a homeless person on the street.
The venues are small with no stage - Do not include stage directions in your play and remember, there are no lights-out between plays. The props your actor needs will come on with them, and leave with them.
Plays can be between 5 and 20 minutes long (four plays per venue) - 20 minutes it is longer than you may think - it is the length of standard sitcom episode.
SHORT PLAY TIPS
Get the Audience Interested – Fast
With traditional theatre audience members have a fairly good idea of the story prior to the performance; many plays audiences see are old standards, Broadway classics, Gilbert and Sullivan, Shakespeare.
Not so with Micro Theatre – our plays are nearly all new works. The audience is waiting with an open mind, you really can set the scene for the whole play with that first sound, line or action.
Here are some tips from successful writers, great opening lines and texture added by Directors to get you thinking.
Tristram Baumber has had great success with Micro Theatre, he says that you should think of a short plays as the final scene of a full length play.
In his play Secrets Peter King’s open line is, ‘I didn’t mean to kill him.’ And everyone was listening.
SET THE SCENE
In the play Just the Ticket in the 2019 Festival one Bronwyn chatted with the audience as they arrived, complaining about the parking and asking about the parking inspectors.
When the play started, not only were the audience surprised that she was an actor, but they already knew what the play was about.
Subtle detail works, the old fashioned tinkle of a bell as the front door of The Press opened was a lovely accompaniment to the entry of two 1940’s characters.
Scaring people really does work – Back when we still had Vinyl Café as a venue Emily launched though the front door, plonked a stool down in front of a surprised audience member, and welcomed them to a Speed Dating night. From then on everyone was terrified they would be next!