An evening of short plays

ArtWork Enterprises will present the eighth annual Rogue Valley Ten-Minute Plays Festival for one day only. Net proceeds from this year's festival of short plays will benefit Friends of the Animal Shelter.

There will be a pre-dinner show from 5 to 6:30 p.m. as well as a post-dinner show from 8 to 9:45 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15, at the Ashland Community Center on Winburn Way across from Lithia Park in Ashland.

There will be eight plays presented at the 5 p.m. show, and as many as 10 at the 8 p.m. show. The second performance will not be an exact duplicate of the first show.

In between the two performances from 6:30 to 8 p.m., ArtWork Enterprises will host a special reception in honor of Friends of the Animal Shelter. The reception also will provide an opportunity to mingle with the actors and directors of this year's festival and enjoy some snacks and beverages all for the benefit of Friends of the Animal Shelter. The reception will be held at the same site as the performances and requires a separate ticket.

Since 2001 ArtWork Enterprises has produced a summertime festival of very short plays. This year for the first time the group decided to produce this event to benefit other worthwhile non-profit groups that are local to the Rogue Valley. The concept is to use theatre as a means to express and promote the values of the partner organization. Friends of the Animal Shelter is a non-profit organization formed in 1990 and comprised of volunteers to support the programs of the Jackson County Animal Shelter to increase pet adoption, improve the quality of life for shelter animals and to promote spay and neuter

Given the beneficiary, playwrights were given the option of submitting plays that speak to the human-animal connection. Some of the plays presented will address human fascination with animals (and vice versa) as well as encounters with not-so-real animals such as tame werewolves, talking monkeys, and very polite sharks. Other plays will speak to our lives and the times in which we find ourselves. Many of this year's playwrights wrote special pieces just for the event, and many more sent along comments expressing their delight with the choice of themes and beneficiaries.

Playwrights from around the world submitted work to this year's Ten-Minute Plays Festival, breaking all records with more than 525 scripts. Dozens of dedicated theatre professionals and aficionados took up the challenge to read and rank the scripts.

The winning plays are: "Like" by James McLindon, "One-Eyed Jake" by Gretchen O'Halloran, "Sightlines" by Charles Hall, "Very Rough Draft" by John O'Brien, "Invincible Nature" by George Caffine, "O Captain My Captain" by Chris Van Strander, "Education of Macoloco" by Jen Silverman, "In View Of" by Kenyon Brown, "Clean Plate Club" by Jon Steinhagen, "Don't Toy With Me" by Andy Black, "An Honest Mistake" by Andrew Biss, and "Ballad of Tom and Jerry" by Liam Kuhn.

Following years of tradition, both shows are theatrical readings of about eight plays, presented with scripts-in-hand, read by local talent. Oregon Shakespeare Festival actors Caroline Shaffer and René Millán will direct. The event will be extraordinarily fast-paced and high-energy, with five actors playing all the roles.

Shaffer has been both an actor and a director in previous AWE productions. She earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree from American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, and completed additional study at Weber Douglas in London. This summer, Shaffer has been working with the Oregon Conservatory for Performing Arts, directing some of their summer programming for young actors.

San Diego native Millán received his MFA from the University of Washington and has experience as both a director and educator as well. His wife, actress Sara Jane Nelson, leads the cast of the new musical "Tales of Fannie Keenan, Better Known as Dora Hand" at Oregon Stage Works through Sept. 29.

ArtWork Enterprises develops collaborative theatrical readings and events that bring new works to the American stage, giving playwrights, artists, and our community ongoing opportunities to create, learn, appreciate, and participate in the journey from page to stage.

Tickets are $15 for general admission and $20 for reserved seats (the first three rows). A separate ticket for the reception is required for $20; or can be purchased for an additional $15 with a performance ticket. Tickets are available at; by phone at 482-4357; or at the door.

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