Quick Hits

StageQ presents its annual festival of shorts

When watching a short play, you must be quick to commit. “You don’t get to fall in love with characters for two hours,” says Tara Ayres, artistic director of StageQ.

She’s referring to Queer Shorts, an annual playfest in which a dozen five- to ten-minute works are presented in a night. Over the past five years playwrights and audiences alike have proven up to the challenge: Ayres now receives up to three hundred scripts for those twelve spots, and sold-out crowds often pack the Bartell.

Past Shorts have brought to stage everything from a tale of three penguins trying to board Noah’s Ark to a lesbian cops-and robbers story. In other words, StageQ seeks eclectic subject matter.

“We’re looking for things that are well written, we’re looking for things that are interesting or memorable,” Ayres says. “And we’re always looking for musicals.”

Queer Shorts brings together veteran playwrights, directors and actors and those new to the Madison theater scene or StageQ. “This is an opportunity for people to come and play with us,” Ayres says.

It’s also a chance to build community through theater. A production geared toward both gay and lesbian audiences is welcoming to those groups, says Ayres. And Queer Shorts appeals to more than only serious theatergoers.

“These shows are just fun,” she says. “Some of it’s funny and some of it’s raunchy and some of it’s poignant. I expect people who come to Queer Shorts to laugh a lot and cry a little.”

Queer Shorts 5 runs June 10–19 at the Bartell Theatre. stageq.com

Katie Vaughn is associate editor of Madison Magazine.

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