The Short+Sweet festival of short plays returns to Abu Dhabi on 20 and 21 January, again showing at NYUAD Arts Center’s Black Box theatre – a suitably intimate environment for a feast of short (sometimes very short) theatre.
The Short+Sweet format – 10-minute plays performed by local companies – began in Sydney in 2002 and now runs in 23 cities in Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, India, the Philippines, the UAE (Dubai is now well established, Abu Dhabi started last year) and now the States (Hollywood, naturally).
Zakaia Cvitanovich, festival director for Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi 2017, said: “The inaugural festival in Abu Dhabi cultivated local talent, in terms of writers, directors and actors, and this year we’re hoping to take that even further. We’ll have new faces involved from the wealth of talent that’s here in the capital, including Emirati talent.”
Incidentally, the larger (and longer-established) Short+Sweet Dubai starts next month. For its fifth year the festival will present around 70 plays in the Junction Theatre in Alserkal Avenue and the rather plus Madinat Theatre in the Souk Madinat Jumeirah from 3 February to 10 March. Info here.
Below are the 12 plays in this year’s show (this isn’t the running order, by the way). All plays show on both nights and there’s no charge; we’re told both evenings are pretty well booked out, but tickets should still be available via the Arts Center’s online booking mechanism.
|The Re-Birth of a Pre-Menopausal Widow Written by, directed by and featuring Tashia Dorsey of UpStage Entertainment. The suspicious and untimely death of her husband prompts our protagonist to build a media empire empowering other women to soar like eagles. Tasha acted and directed in Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi last year; for 2017 she’s added to the story of the PM Widow she created for her PM Window TV YouTube channel.|
|The Detective Writer Rithik Soni, director Wayne Dorsey (UpStage Entertainment); featuring Tashia Dorsey, James Kinnard, Sandy Buckner, Kyla Dorsey. A pair of private detectives with a unique way of solving crime takes on the case of a suspicious suicide. More Dorsey family action, with a first director credit for Wayne M. Dorsey – co-owner of UpStage Entertainment with his wife Tashia.|
|A Foolish Boy Writers Beth Graham and Daniela Vlaskalic, director Stephen Delano; featuring Ayaan Ahmed, Safwan Khan, Omar Wehbe, Abdulla El Hage, Yaser Alkahlout, Hayder Abbas Hamad. The actors relate a hilarious Serbian folk tale. Or is it Scottish? Italian? Or could it just be – Canadian? Produced by arrangement with Playwrights Guild of Canada, which is where director Stephen Delano comes from (he is also the director of the NSO Symphony Chorus, incidentally)|
|10,000 Cigarettes Writer Alex Broun, director Charlie Cunningham; featuring Marcelle Davis, Michelle Fancois, Fiona Makia, Nora Massouh. One cigarette is too many, 10,000 never enough. Or is it? This is one of the many short playscripts in the portfolio of Alex Broun, who was also one of the team that originally brought Short+Sweet to the UAE. Director Charlie Cunningham is a playwright and poet who has lived in Abu Dhabi for over five years.|
|Adopt or What? Writers Zakaia Cvitanovich and Sanoop Dinesh, director Sanoop Dinesh of Beyond the Veil theatre company; featuring Ro Gilbert and Sanoop Dinesh. A couple debate issues around starting a family. Will their parents be satisfied? Are they even ready to start a family? Zakaia Cvitanovich, director of the festival, is a leading light of the independent company Beyond the Veil. Sanoop Dinesh, a well-known, local performer and a self-proclaimed enthusiast for all things theatrical, is perhaps better known as a dancer.|
|Utopian Hope Writer Alberto Crespo Iniesta, director Gautam Marathe (Beyond the Veil); featuring Adithya Thomas and Faris Iftikhar. Two men kill time waiting for a train by discussing the meaning of life and the problems of society. Gautam Marathe was born and brought up in Mumbai, regarded as the performing arts capital” of India, and he has been acting in theatre right from early years.|
|For the Love of H Writers Zakaia Cvitanovich and Angeleene Abraham, director Angeleene Abraham (Beyond the Veil); features Ro Gilbert, Magy George, Sally O’Neill, KatyMcCants Floyd, Josephine Kenyon-Blair, Audrey Brinkley. Love is never easy – especially when there are more than two people in the equation. Angeleene Abraham is no stranger to the Abu Dhabi stage, whether it’s singing jazz classic, dancing in the chorus, or giving a stellar acting performance.|
|My Maid and I Written and directed by Simone McGregor; featuring Nooreen Rahemtullah and Ashleigh Edwards Pitt. In a world of glamour, sunglasses, shopping and cellphones, one of these lovely ladies is the Queen Bee – but which is it? This is the second time that Simone McGregor has written a play and directed at Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi.|
|The Sparrow & The Trap Written and directed by Abdul Nasser Al Tamimi; featuring Magy George and Abdul Nasser Al Tamimi. Be wary of those who hide behind apparent goodness for malicious purposes … Abdul Nasser Al Tamimi started acting and writing when he was a student 35 years ago but only returned to them three years ago – since when he has written more than 14 scripts for theatre, TV and film.|
|Electric Lamentations: Through the Shattered Glass Written and directed by Al-Hurr Al-Dalli of Resuscitation Theatre; featuring Al-Hurr Al-Dalli and Carlos Paez Gonzalez. Just who is Al? An existential crisis in 10 minutes or less. Born and bred in Abu Dhabi, Al-Hurr Al-Dalli studied film in Montreal. His enthusiasm is matched only by his confusion, it says here.|
|Beirut and Me and Faisal Makes Three Writer Julien Quini, director Faisal Al-Jadir (Resuscitation Theatre); featuring Hurr Al-Dalli, Samah Konia, Sanoop Dinesh, Carlos Paez. Faisal is leaving Beirut. But to go where? Torn between friends, he has to choose between who he thinks he is – and who he wants to be. Faisal Al-Jadir is an aspiring filmmaker/writer who has been involved with Abu Dhabi’s Resuscitation Theatre since 2011, participating in more than 12 productions.|
|The Assignment Writer Greg Gould, director Mohammed Fahim; featuring Michael D’Cruz, Leenu Ledda, Farah Lidya. Four students are desperately trying to get it together to meet the deadline for the assignment. But a surprise awaits them … Mohammed Fahim is a relative newcomer to the theatre, and this is his first time directing. He says he’s keen to be involved with more shows in the future.|
Venue: Black Box Theatre at the NYUAD Arts Centre, Saadiyat Island.
Dates: 7:30pm, Friday 20th and Saturday 21st January, 2017.