Theater & Performing Arts

Shortlived 2.0

When: Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through June 27 2009

The crew at PianoFight Productions knows how to pander to an audience accustomed to YouTube clips and rapid-fire status updates. Why subject those folks to a full-length, character-driven play when you can give them eight punchy shorts in about the same amount of time? Enter Shortlived 2.0, PianoFight's second playwriting competition, comprising twelve two-week rounds with eight plays per round. Audience members get to cast judgment and decide who advances to the next round. It's actually a tall order because these plays are all very well-written (and well-executed for that matter, by actors who have to learn four new plays every two weeks). They're smart, imaginative, and contemporary, using current slang and modern technological devices (e.g., people Tweet each other and have cell phones). Many of them use topical themes -- such as wiretapping -- to move the plot forward. Most come from relatively unknown writers, including some who have never seen their work produced onstage. Yet there's nothing to mark them as amateurs. Were it not for the playwright bios, you'd probably never know. Through June 27 at Studio 250 (Off-Market Theaters, 965 Mission St., San Francisco).

Rachel Swan

Price: $15

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