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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Voices of BTM XVI: Abbey Fenbert

Abbey Fenbert
"I think all plays should be ten minutes long." 
- My Dad

The basic criterion by which I gauge all works of theater I create or consume is this: Am I bored now? A play can be long, it can be slow, it can be quiet or experimental or sad — but like hell does a play have the right to bore me. That’s offensive.

We’re a civilization of zero time. If my play’s dull, I’ve stolen your time and whittled ever so slightly at your will to live and now you’re counting the vowels in the program and the tree they killed to print it died for nothing and it’s all my fault.

High stakes yo.

And we who hoard time will be skeptical of theater in marathon form. But ask yourself the only question that matters: Are you bored yet? At a festival like BTM, you cannot be bored. Your dad cannot be bored. Every ten minutes, the world changes.

Lights up on a new landscape. A mystery, a desire, wild language, wild jokes. There’s no time to count vowels, you’re inhaling it all. A ten-minute play is theater in cupcake form. We adore them. So digestible! So quick. Lights, blackout, laughs, all the feelings. Done. And then… As we’re loving how quickly it all goes… The time will stretch. The moments will matter. Ten minutes packed with mystery, desire, language and jokes is not the same unit of time as ten minutes folding laundry or lost in a Wikipedia rabbit hole. We’ll want it to go slower, and last longer, because that’s why anyone makes plays in the first place — to hold time in place.

And that’s an impossible, fatal feat. Like a marathon.

I’m stoked to be attempting the impossible in my first Boston Theater Marathon, and doubly stoked to work with a Boston University all-star team. I’m finishing my second year in BU’s MFA Playwriting program (about which my Dad has other pithy remarks); BU alum and faculty member Emily Ranii is directing; and recent School of Theater grads Eliza Fichter and David Keohane star. They are hilarious and delightful and THEY WILL NOT BORE YOU. Thanks to everyone, and to Kate Snodgrass for making it all happen. Fifty times.

Don't miss Boston Theater Marathon XVI on May 11! Tickets

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