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Stepping into the 10 minute spotlight

Auditions got underway for the 10x10 Play Showcase, providing local actors with an introduction to the stage.
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THUNDER BAY - For seasoned actors or those just starting out, stepping into the shoes of a character and bringing them to life on stage in only 10 minutes is no easy feat.

But that didn’t stop dozens of actors from coming out to the first day of auditions for this year’s 10x10 Play Showcase.

“It’s all about believing,” said Arlene Korhonen-King, who was auditioning for her third 10x10 play on Saturday. “Once I take on the role of that character, I am that individual. The idea of the background story and the story in of itself can get you ready for what you want to present to the audience.”

The 10x10 Play Showcase challenges playwrights to craft a 10 minute play to be performed on stage. With the 10 plays chosen from 35 submissions this year, it is now up to the directors to cast the characters, and the actors to bring those characters to life.

Cathi Winslow, 10x10 artistic director, said the annual showcase offers a challenge to all those involved, especially the actors who are tasked with embodying a character in such a short time on stage. But Winslow added that is why so many people come out to audition.

“Part of the appeal of our show is it is such a short rehearsal period,” she said. “They have less than a month from the time of casting and then they have rehearsals and the show. Compared to a lot of other plays it’s a much shorter time commitment and that appeals to people who have limited time available.”

This year, Winslow expects at least 40 roles to be cast. She added that in past years it has been challenging to find enough actors for all the roles, typically middle-aged men, but that is starting to change.

“Playwrights are experimenting now with more women’s parts and different age ranges or characters who can be gender-fluid,” she said.

For John Condon, who is directing The Soul-Mate by Bronson Carver, auditioning for a 10 minute play isn’t all that different from a traditional one.  

“Each part that you are going to get, maybe instead of having 100 minutes of lines to memorize, you are only going to have a few minutes in a 10 minute play,” he said. “Sometimes for people to be able to have their first experience auditioning and being in a play, this can be a really good experience. They are small, creative, fun plays that are easy to sink your dramatic teeth into.”

And that is why Korhonen-King has acted in two 10x10 plays and is trying for her third. She encourages anyone who might be interested in threatre to throw any fears away and try out for those 10 minutes on stage under the spotlight.

“That is the beauty of 10x10, whether you are a novice or a seasoned actor, this is an opportunity to get your feet wet,” she said. “They welcome everybody of all abilities and talents and it’s a great way to start.”

A second day of auditions will be held on Saturday, Mar. 17 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. at the Waverley Resource Library. Everyone is welcome to audition. The 10x10 Play Showcase will be held on Apr. 13 and 14 at Magnus Theatre. For more information, visit the 10x10 website.