Just back from the finals of the Canberra Rep's annual short play competition, the 'Logues. The finalists: a dozen one-or-two handers, all well-acted and all well-directed by Rob de Fries. Authors are anonymous; the audience gets a ballot paper and rates each play out of ten, and at the end the numbers are tallied and third, second and first prizes announced over a civilised drink in the foyer. Additional amusement can be obtained by trying to see the ratings given by people around you. It is astonishing how massively they can vary.
I confess to being a little disappointed by the outcome. My best mark went to something called "The Upsell", in which a loser seeking a gun to wreak revenge on his ex and her new partner is offered some interesting choices in weaponry. I liked this immensely, not least because it seemed to me a genuinely original concept, and the dialogue was just gorgeous - diverse and Fry-like turns of phrase. But an old lady in front of me quite clearly marked it 2 out of 10, so obviously the appeal was not universal.
My next highest mark went to a very funny phone monologue called "I'm Not A Bloody Bee, Dad!" performed beautifully by Euan Bowen; a naive country boy calling home on his honeymoon ("There's not much to do in Sydney, Dad."). A point below that I had two others - a scenario with two diseases swapping career advice, and "Undivided Attention", in which Andy Burton is uncharacteristically unattractive as the office bore who won't let Tim Sekuless get on with his work.
None of them rated with my fellow voters, it appears. First and third places both went to Jodi McAlister - third for a piece called "The Rules", about a bloke trying to get back in the dating game after the end of a relationship. It was likeable enough but cliched. Second place went to something called "Apples & Oranges" by Jon Garland, which had a similar theme but was wittier. And first went to "Ill Met By Moonlight", a spoof of the teen vampire genre that, again, was likeable enough but more of a Uni Revue sketch, and strictly of the moment.
So a bad weekend for my votes all around, really...