Sarah O'Connor

Writer – Playwright – Cannot Save You From The Robot Apocalypse


You may remember last year that I got accepted into the festival for the first time and about what a great experience and how much fun I had with it. But it’s been about a year since I was first accepted into the festival, so I’ll remind you what it’s about.

The HamilTEN Festival is an annual theatre festival in my city where playwrights write and then put on their ten minute long shows. All shows are limited to the ten minute timeline with minimal set, tech, and props to put more of a focus on the show itself than on what is on stage. I’ve always loved minimalism and the challenge to put on a play with as little as possible is one I had to do. Last year was my first time in the festival with “A Spell for Schoolgirls,” a play that I was such a joy to put on and it made me so happy to be a part of.

I had a lot of trouble thinking of what I was going to submit for the 2019 festival. Part of me was tempted to write something funny again, not that “Schoolgirls” was a full on comedy but it had some laughs in there. Comedies have also done pretty well in the HamilTEN Festival, so the temptation was definitely there to focus on something funny.

But I didn’t want to.

At my core I knew I didn’t want to write something funny, not because I was trying to be different from what’s popular or trying to be edgy, I just knew that whatever I submitted for the festival wasn’t going to be funny. I’d already done that and I wanted to challenge myself with something different.

I told all this to my sister, about how I wanted to do something different but I didn’t know what and how I was struggling because the deadline was approaching fast (well, not super fast, but I was going to be Florida and I knew I wouldn’t be getting much writing done their). And right away my sister had the perfect idea for what I should write.

A few years back I wrote a poem called “After the Beep” that was accepted into an anthology. The anthology still hasn’t been published, through some strange and unknown difficulties I have asked the head editors about, but I still hope will one day. It was a short thing, a little less than a page long and my sister said I should try adapting that into a play.

At first I thought she was crazy. The poem was just less than a page long, how could I format something that small into a ten minute play? But even as I told her my thoughts against her suggestion, my brain was already turning out ways for how I could make it work, and I told her that that was going to be the play I submitted.

It’s called “Beep” and I won’t tell you yet what it’s about, though it will get out soon enough (maybe when I can write a better summary for it), and it was much more difficult to write than “A Spell for Schoolgirls.” “Schoolgirls” was definitely just a spark of something that came out of me from nowhere, but I was so happy and proud of because it turned out to be the play I wanted to put on all along.

“Beep” is different for a number of reasons. It’s a drama, it’s very serious, and for a number of reasons it was hard to write. But it was also something that I needed to write, something that I’ve tried to figure out how to put into words and have been hesitant to. But I feel like now is the right time for “Beep,” for these ideas. It’s time to get this story out there; I know that it’s right for me at this time even though it’s going to be hard. And I’m excited for it, because last year gave me my first taste of theatre for a long time and I’m ready to be back, ready to bring theatre into my life more regularly.

So I guess I’ll see you in April, and I’m excited to see all the other plays and playwrights who were accepted!

(HamilTEN icon designed by Carly Popenko.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s