A smorgasbord of New Zealand short plays is being served by the Oamaru Repertory Society. It is one of only two theatre groups across the country selected by the Playwrights Association of New Zealand to perform the winners of its 10Minute Play Competition 2016. The other group is in the North Island town of Waihi. Oamaru Repertory Society president Bob Avis said it was an honour to be chosen, showing the association’s confidence in the calibre of the Oamaru productions. From August 31 until September 4, the seven top 10minute plays will be on stage in the Itchen St theatre. Not all strictly met the 10minute limit, but they averaged out at about that length, Mr Avis said. With a fiveminute break between each and an interval between the fourth and fifth plays, the show, called Prizewinners, will last about two hours. The subject matter was a ‘‘mixture’’, Mr Avis said. Some plays would be ‘‘quite challenging for the audience’’, while others were simple, moving, or funny. One, about Auckland street kids, is being performed by St Kevin’s College members of the Giant Leaps Speech Company. The show was an opportunity for people who had never directed a production before to come forward, Mr Avis said. He was one of them, having previously worked backstage. It was difficult to find enough actors, especially at this time of year, he said. However, the short duration of the plays meant it was ‘‘a lot easier for the individual’’. Some were performing in more than one piece, with about 16 altogether. The sets would be minimal and the sound and lighting carried out by the same crew throughout. Costumes would not be too tricky, as all the plays were set in modern times. One of the busiest people in the theatre would be Mr Avis’ wife Pat, who was in charge of properties. She had items divided between seven boxes, ready to be taken on at the strategic time. Rehearsals with the small casts were being held in private homes to save the expense of heating the theatre, Mr Avis said.
The curtain rises at 7.30pm on Wednesday, August 31, and falls after the 4pm matinee on Sunday, September 4. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for school pupils, and $15 for block bookings.