inspiraTO enlightens in just 10 minutes

Call it the Twitter of theatre. At the inspiraTO 10-minute play festival, there's precious little time to create memorable characters and leave an impression.

In its sixth annual incarnation, the inspiraTO festival shows some maturity, exploring themes of virginity, divorce, death, redemption, secrecy and desperation. There are two groupings of eight 10-minute plays themed loosely around sound. I attended the "redSound: sounds that disturb or awaken" program. The other set, "blueSound: Sounds that float or drift," is shown on alternating performances.

I quite enjoyed previous years' programs, so my expectations were high for this year's performances.

For 2011, my favourite 10-minute play was the dark comedy A Canadian Tuxedo written by Nicole Pandolfo and directed by Andrew Joseph Richardson. It stars Adrian Parks and Chris Luciow as Lou and Sal — two misguided souls who are tasked with killing an identical twin, both of whom commit the most grievous fashion crime. That is, until recent times.

Other highlights included Solitary, written by Catherine Frid and directed by Mark Augustine. It depicts three criminals in solitary confinement, each with their own heinous crime story. Each inmate (Gregory Cruikshank, Pooria Rouhani Fard and Richard Guppy) reveals his story through sparse interactions sparked by the prison guard (Mark Nimeroski). It's a slice-of-life look into one of Canada's correctional institutions.

Some of the other plays were hit-and-miss. But these two gems make the program entirely worthwhile.

The inspiraTO festival continues until June 11 at the Alumnae Theatre (70 Berkeley St.) Tickets are $12 - $17.

Photo courtesy inspiraTO festival.

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