The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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August 29, 2013

MN Shorts Play Festival continues to grow

MN Shorts Play Festival continues to grow with 500 submissions for two-day event

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That is, until MSU instructor and department chair Paul Hustoles handed her a script during his spring course in advanced directing. LeClaire reviewed the piece — a sister drama written by Minneapolis' Whitney Rowland — and agreed to take the challenge. Since all the plays in the festival are held to 10 minutes, LeClaire said she'll need to focus on pacing and building the audience's suspense before something of a reveal at the end.

"This will be my first play seen by a large number of people," she said. "It's a great opportunity, a great thing to do. ... I'm definitely excited to be a part of it."

Adam Sharp and Esther Hoffmann, however, are theater veterans who will be filling multiple roles for the festival.

In recent years, Hoffmann has had works selected for the Minnesota Fringe Festival as well as for local Mankato Mosaic productions. For the short play festival, however, the Mankato playwright will make her directorial debut with her own play, "The Gospel According to Hertha." In addition, she'll be playing one of two roles in the comedy that delves into the opposite perspectives of two women who are fired from their jobs.

"Whether your relationship is ending, or you get fired from your job or your parents are dying — this play is about how you react when you no longer know who you are," she said. "This is the first time I've directed anything. But when I wrote it, I saw clearly how I wanted it to move."

Sharp's 2012 submission, "Captain Corporate Personhood," was well-received at the Minnesota Shorts Festival, and later went on to be performed in New York and earn honorable mention in the New Works of Merit Playwriting Contest.

This year's submission, "ET vs. Predator," is a social satire couched in outlandish plot and character. In addition to writing the piece, the co-founder of Box Wine Theater in Minneapolis will also play the role of ET as well as play a role in Sam Graber's play, "Driving Herd."

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