The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

UI Theater Department presents student-run Ten Minute Plays

The annual Ten-Minute Play Festival will feature several student-written shows centering around unique characters and themes. The Festival will debut on Feb. 8, 2024.
Madison Frette
Students rehearse for the 27th Annual Ten-Minute Play Festival presented by The University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts in the Theatre Building on Jan. 22, 2024. The cast is starring in a play titled “The Worst Supervillain in the World” written by student Darrin Terpstra. (Madison Frette/The Daily Iowan)

 The University of Iowa’s Theater Department’s annual Ten-Minute Play Festival is a unique, student-run production that incorporates the talents of UI students interested in play production.

Showcased in Alan MacVey Theater from Feb. 8-11, eight staged plays were selected to be produced for this
year’s festival.

Following the announcement of the selected plays, the undergrad playwrights have been hard at work perfecting their productions.

“The festival is very undergrad-led unlike many mainstage productions. It’s also nice because it attracts a lot of non-majors who want to get involved in the shows, and as playwrights and directors,” said Nat Payan, a UI fourth-year student and the festival’s stage manager.

Payan, whose plays were selected and produced for previous Ten-Minute festivals, credits some of the interest in the festival to the audition process, which he describes as “low pressure” compared to similar student festivals.

In addition to his responsibilities as a stage manager, Payan is part of the production himself. Every year, the festival includes a stage reading series.

This year, the series will take place at 2 p.m. ahead of the Feb. 10 show. Payan’s meta piece, “Places!”, will be included as part of this series, telling the story of a stage management team unable to find their lead actors ten minutes before the start of their show.

For UI fourth-year student Olivia George, her play, “Doves and Foxes,” chosen for the festival was one she wrote during her first year in college.

“When I first wrote it, it was for an assignment, and I was a little lost on what to do. So, I thought back on different things in life that I wanted to talk about, as well as different people,” George said.

George is an English and creative writing major on the publishing track. She also has a certificate in art entrepreneurship and a minor in theater arts. Her play centers around a group of 1960s women having a luncheon where one of them discusses the possible consequences of being pregnant in a society where women have little agency.

After going through several revisions, George is proud of her product and is excited to see how people interpret her play. As someone who mainly writes prose, practice with developing realistic dialogue has been a helpful experience for her as well.

One of the most unique aspects of the festival is the choice each playwright gets to either direct their play themselves or invite others onto their creative team.

Playwright and UI fourth-year student Darrin Terpstra has decided to take on the role of co-director for his play, “The Worst Supervillain in the World.”

Terpstra’s story is meant to begin by involving elements of superhero kids’ cartoons. As the play goes on, however, the world slowly evolves to fit that of a sitcom/romantic comedy.

“I’m very excited to see people who haven’t seen any of these plays yet find out what that common thread is that ties them all together,” Terpstra said.

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About the Contributors
Riley Dunn
Riley Dunn, Arts Reporter
Riley Dunn is a first-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in English and Creative Writing and Journalism and Mass Communications. Prior to her time at the DI, Riley interned for Swimming World Magazine.
Madison Frette
Madison Frette, Photojournalist
Madison Frette is a second-year student at The University of Iowa double majoring in Business Analytics and Information Systems and Cinematic Arts. This is her first year working as a photojournalist for The Daily Iowan.