Trivia - History of Short Plays

The history of the short play can be traced back to the very origins of the Theatre.

In ancient Greece, dramatists traditionally included a short satyr play with their trilogy of tragedies presented at the dramatic competitions.

A short burlesque treatment of the classic myths, satyr plays generally poked fun at the gods or heroes in their mythical adventures and allowed for a bit of light fun after the heavy tragedies.

Pratinus is usually credited with having invented the genre sometime before 501 B.C.

When drama re-emerged in the middle ages, it was in the form of short liturgical plays that were gradually incorporated into church services and festivals.

Plays were developed for the birth of Christ and other popular biblical events.

By Shakespeare’s time, dramatic literature had developed to the point that it could challenge Greek drama in sophistication and power.

Many of the greatest dramatists to follow would try their hand at the short dramatic form, some of them producing works that rival their longer masterpieces in power and popularity.

In 1977, the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New American Plays took the short play a step further when it founded a brand new genre—the 10-minute play.

This new format was an immediate and explosive hit with audiences, allowing them to enjoy an entire buffet of theatre in one sitting.

Since that time, the 10-minute play has solidified its place in the canon of dramatic literature, and many theatres now include an evening of 10-minute plays in their production season.

In fact there is actually a 10 minute play festival in Australia called 'Short & Sweet' which is trying to open up a branch in India.