Our culture's short attention span hasn't been a boon to the theater. Even among stage buffs, anything over a couple hours can make you want to kill the lights and call it curtains. If you prefer smart, meaningful shows that don't resemble watching your wallpaper peel, check out Three Wise Monkeys' seventh annual Bay One-Acts Festival
. The fest demonstrates the economy of language and entertainment that its founders strive for; namely, that it's possible to tell a compelling story with virtually no budget without prolonging the drama needlessly. Over the last six years, the company has produced over 75 original one-act plays, and this year the festival features eight original productions. Playwrights, directors, actors, and a slew of other theatre companies (Thunderbird Theatre Company and the San Francisco Improv Alliance, to name a couple) collaborated on all the plays in the festival, ranging from Cary Pepper's darkly comedic House of the Holy Moment
to Patricia Milton's gender-flummoxing Busybody
. Given the challenge of speeding from conflict to resolution, it's generally easiest to galvanize an audience with humor, but the solid writing and upending of stage conventions provide plenty of riveting moments between laughs.
BOA's Program One starts tonight at 8 p.m. (and Program Two continues through March 16.)
Feb. 21-March 2, 2008