Though it's been a long time since I have been an active playwright in the Hawaii theater scene, I still got an invitation to participate in the One Minute Theatre Festival. Last year was the first time that it came to Hawaii, and it'll be back again this year.
Most of the time I do something significant, it's because I had to get out of my head and just do it. That was the case last year, for sure. It was flattering to be still on the playwright list, and I hadn't written anything new in a long time. So though I didn't have an idea for what I would write, I accepted. The way the founder and director, Dominic D'Andrea words the invite puts just the right amount of tension on you to compel you to follow through. "If you accept, this means that you agree to ...." When you say yes, I'm in, even if you don't know what you're going to write, you make a commitment.
The hardest thing about this is the one-minute thing. Writers have a lot to say, right? I start out thinking I'm within the time frame, and then I read it through and it's maybe 5. So, cut cut cut. You end up really skin and bones, but somehow, the point is still there.
Last year, my plays were about Mauna Kea (Sick Patient) and testing (The Cheating Scandal). This year, they are about Ohi'a Tree disease (Death of the Ohi'a) and aging (In Denial). The idea of this festival is to serve as a "barometer" for the "zeitgeist" of the communities in which the playwrights live. There is a consciousness that you have your pet projects and issues, but that they are reflective of the larger community as well.
Last year, I was in Guam producing my play and could not attend the festival. This year, I am in Guam again, seeing my play through another production for Festpac (Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture). So, I miss out on that exciting consummation of seeing your words come to life on stage. But I am glad to have been given the opportunity to work the creative juju and be part of this festival. This year, my daughter Dance also participated and will be able to attend. If you can, I hope you will go. May 21 at HTY at 8.
Diane Aoki is a writer who explores other modes of creativity as her intuition leads her.