Theater Review: Bar Plays 5.0 Spotlights Local Playwrights with a Series of Short Plays

Fortnight’s Terminal B just might be the perfect spot for a rhetorical trip through eight original short “bar” plays.

Cary Playwrights’ Forum has become an incubator of sorts for aspiring North Carolina playwrights. Out of 36 plays submitted, a committee made up of readers and directors selected eight to be produced in the group’s bar play series. This collection of short scripts is dubbed Bar Plays 5.0.

The through-line connecting all the plays (and monologues) is that they all take place in a bar. But like most pubs, the characters found herein span the gamut from introspective (Stephanie Turner’s One Day) to funny (Sarianna Gregg’s, Spermazon) to absurd (Tim Weist’s A Rabbit Walks into a Bar).

Since all these plays are 10 minutes or less, the challenge for the playwrights is to develop complex characters that draw the audience in quickly. Some of the plays here do that more effectively than others. Tom Reilly’s play Ten-Year Reunion, for example, is probably one of the most effective in its development and execution, telling a redemptive story of two college classmates coming together a decade after leaving campus whose lives have been forever changed.

It is always exciting to experience new work, particularly work developed, directed, and performed by local artists. And although five of the plays were directed by women (three were written by women), I do wish there was a bit more diversity and representation in the work selected. That said, Cary Playwrights’ Forum is looking forward to Bar Plays 5.1, a series of rehearsed readings that will be presented in January. The group is also seeking submissions for Chrysalis 2.0, which is an opportunity for playwrights to have their full-length play developed from a staged-reading to full production.

Bar Plays 5.0 continues through Thursday, November 14th at Fortnight Brewing in Cary. For more information visit or the RDU on Stage Calendar Page.

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