It was SRO for TAC’s 10-Minute Play Festival

Family By Numbers (l-r) Shane McDermott, Donald Pitts, Henry Miller, Jill Cevant,
Samantha Miller. Photo by Tanner Boyajian

Topanga Actors Company (TAC) first Ten-Minute Play Festival was a cornucopia of creativity, a feast for theater lovers, standing room only (SRO), and a darn good time.

Nine directors, twenty-seven actors, two producers, and one fabulous sound tech, Kelli Whiteside, brought 15 ten-minute plays to life at the Topanga Library. Playing to packed houses on both days, there was comedy, tragedy, and everything in between.

Producer Judith Hendra valiantly solicited and read each and every one of more than 600 submissions, honing it down to about 200. Then Judith and yours truly picked the final 15 for performance. We invited actors and directors from the Canyon and beyond to bring these works to life. The plays were staffed with an enthusiastic group of artists. Directors included locals Mary Crescenzo, Allison Davies, Micah Dyer, Thad Geer, Edward Giron, Jessica Hendra, Elizabeth Herron, Paula LaBrot, Vanessa Waters, and the magical Catherine McClenahan, who generously lent their considerable talents to the festival.

It’s amazing how much of a story can be told in ten minutes. In Trapped, two actors hilariously found themselves to be characters in a play…an existence with a ten-minute time limit. Cleverly staged and skillfully acted, The Secret Life of Phones chronicled the passionate love affair between two cell phones. Mnemonic broke our hearts and resonated the longing all of us have for lost loved ones. Three Lotus Flowers spoke for the thousands of women forced to have abortions during China’s one child policy. On the Underground brought us a philosophical Penguin as a main character musing on life and parental love. Each of the 15 stories was wonderfully complete.

The little plays were love stories, stories of the digital age, and traditional tales of family and life on life’s terms. The actors were all excellent, performing with skill and heart. The standing room only audience was engaged and very appreciative. It was a wonderful day for theater lovers. Good writing, good directing, good acting, great audience. And a wonderful Library staff to support the project.

TAC’s next performance will be a family-friendly, up-to-date Christmas show performed by the super talented Stephen Hoye, all about that old holiday favorite, Scrooge.

See you then!


Look for announcements in the Messenger Mountain News and on Next Door Topanga to get involved.


Paula LaBrot

Paula LaBrot is a 30-year resident of Topanga, a futurist with a special interest in the uncharted waters of cyberspace.

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