Review: Plan-B Theatre Company’s 10th Anniversary SLAM

Artist, Randy Rasmussen

American Garbage: Artist, Randy Rasmussen

What is SLAM?

For the past ten years Plan-B Theatre has assembled five playwrights who write five, ten-minute plays in twenty-three hours. They slam them out, and actors perform for a full audience during the twenty-fourth hour. Pretty great concept, right?  For the 10th anniversary  there were some changes–actors performed five of the best SLAM creations from years past, including:

  • Tobin Atkinson’s Totally Fucked (2004), a political satire which was also the very first play at the very first SLAM (oh so fitting for an anniversary show).
  • Larry West’s American Garbage (2005), a dark comedy about the damage we do to our own world and the denial we create
  • Jenifer Nii’s Control_Alt_Delete (2011), a touching family drama about death, dying, and how we treat LGBT family members
  • Eric Samuelsen’s Behind the Blue Door (2007), a metaphorical look at the Iraq War, bordering on the comical and tragic
  • Matthew Ivan Bennett’s Terms of Use (2009), an existential ode to breasts, exploring breast-feeding in a conservative state

But participants didn’t get off that easy, each play included amazing projection artwork as its backdrop, artwork created in less than twenty-four hours! Here are some of the pieces (also found above):

Artist, Greg Ragland

Behind the Blue Door: Artist, Greg Ragland

Terms of Use: Artist, Jann Haworth

Terms of Use: Artist, Jann Haworth

The beautiful artwork augmented the fantastic stories previous created by playwrights in under twenty-four hours. It is difficult to believe that each play wasn’t crafted over a longer period of time. The talent it takes for all of the artists involved, who work under such tremendous pressure, is astounding, and Salt Lake City is lucky to have such amazing artists call this place home.

And the actors? It is impossible to say enough about how the actors beautifully executed their roles. Each cast of 3-4 people managed to draw the audience into narrative spanning just ten short minutes.  The entire crowd laughed hysterically during Terms of Use and Totally Fucked, but cried during the next ten minutes of  Control_Alt_Delete. Again, the local talent found within Plan-B Theatre is astounding, and our city is truly lucky to have them. If Plan-B decides to put on another SLAM next year, it would be foolish of you to miss it.

This year’s SLAM ended with some pretty amazing announcements, but one of the most important announcements requires our help! Plan-B’s production of Adam & Steve and the Empty Sea by Matthew Greene will be part of the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival this August! They need your help getting to NYC! Every dollar helps, donate here or  here!

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