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An honest day’s work for Ten Bucks Theatre Company

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From left: Katrina Dresser, Andrea Littlefield and Doreen Moody in the opening play from Ten Bucks Theatre Company's 24 Hour New Play Festival. From left: Katrina Dresser, Andrea Littlefield and Doreen Moody in the opening play from Ten Bucks Theatre Company's 24 Hour New Play Festival. (Photo courtesy of Ten Bucks Theatre Company)

EDDINGTON – Seven brand-new plays sprang to life on a stage in Eddington this weekend.

Ten Bucks Theatre Company’s sixth annual 24 Hour New Play Festival took place at Comins Hall in Eddington this weekend. Some three dozen passionate theater folks came together to present a collection of original works that didn’t even exist the day before.

Seven plays, written the night before. Seven casts, performing after spending just a few hours with their scripts. Five groups of adults, two groups of kids, all devoted to creating something new.

It really is a delight.

This year’s festival saw a wide variety of offerings. First out of the gate was a play that offered a riff on the classic children’s story “Make Way For Ducklings,” with a collection of ducks dealing with the difficulties of crossing the road. Next up was a piece that poked fun of the trappings of art as a nude model tried desperately to avoid getting nude while the class’s teacher attempted to unleash the inner artist of her students.

Next up was the story of an interplanetary panel meeting in an effort to deal with the burgeoning issues presented by the development of mankind and decide what could be done about the human problem. After that, we got a play that followed two women as they made their way into the wilds of Aroostook County in an effort to track down a legendary guru who might be able to finally give them the answers they’ve sought for so long.

The final adult team presented a fun meta piece, a look at a former playwright and director in her dotage in an assisted living home being sent down memory lane courtesy of a visit from an old friend and rival so that she might come up with a way to save the home from closure.

The two youth teams had some fun as well. The first piece was about an attempted proposal sabotaged at every turn by the absurd happenings on one chaotic evening at a restaurant. The other followed a group of girls at the mall through a case of sibling rivalry that winds up with a surprising conclusion.

There are a lot of reasons to like this event, but perhaps the biggest is the opportunity to see people from all walks of life with all levels of experience coming together to celebrate their shared love of the theater. Real passion is an increasingly rare thing in this life, so having the chance to experience it is something special.

As you might imagine, there are plenty of hiccups. Lines are lost, blocking is forgotten, giggles are gotten … and that’s great. It’s all part of the charm. That rough-around-the-edges quality is a feature, not a bug. An event like this isn’t about polish. It’s about the joy of creation.

The crowd at this weekend’s event might have been the biggest yet for one of these festivals. And they were in luck – they got to watch as nearly 40 people took to the stage and had a whole lot of fun.

The folks at Ten Bucks Theatre Company who do so much work to bring this event to life deserve any and all plaudits we can give them. It’s a welcome addition to the area’s cultural calendar, one that has become a worthwhile and beloved creative tradition.

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