published Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Theater for those with short atten — ooh, a butterfly

In the third season of the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” lead character Ted (Josh Radnor) takes the object of his fancy, Stella (Sarah Chalke), on a “two-minute date,” managing to cram a meal, a stroll and even a movie into 120 seconds.

For those who have trouble keeping focused, a two-minute date is ideal.

Equally ideal is Short Attention Span Theatre, a short play festival consisting of unpublished works five to 20 minutes in length and presented by the Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga.

In this, the third year of SAST, there will once again be a cohesive theme to the production.

“This year, we chose the theme of Speed Dating for its fun, quirky and adventurous world,” director Casey Keelen said in a news release. “We have 10 short pieces with great energy that delve into the many faces of love, dating and relationships. Love is not always sweet or dramatic;

IF YOU GO

What: Short Attention Span Theatre: “Speed Dating.”

When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and 6:30 p.m. Sundays through June 12.

Where: St. Andrews Center, 1918 Union Avenue.

Admission: $10 adult, $8 student.

Phone: 423-987-5141.

Website: www.ensembletheatreofchattanooga.com

sometimes it is just plain strange or even funny. I wanted to explore those aspects this year.”

One of the scripts was penned by Garry Lee Posey, an Ensemble’s producing partner, who will also serve as costume designer.

“[The plays] can involve any aspect of speed dating,” he said. “It can be an actual speed-dating event, or it can involve a really quick courtship or any sort of dating-related story that, by the nature of it being a short play, would happen speedily.”

The ensemble invited about 30 playwrights who had previously submitted material to throw their hats in the ring once more. The word spread and they received about 100 submissions.

Posey’s play, “Taking in the Peaceful,” is “probably the most distant from the theme,” he said. It is about a couple embarking on a new romance — “they fall into like with each other,” he said, but each are tethered to a deceased person; she to a mother who died 22 years ago and whose grave she visits each Sunday. He lost his wife 13 months ago in childbirth. At a pivotal point, he will seek the blessing of his wife’s spirit to move on in love and relationships.

“Casey liked that it had a very serious feel to it as opposed to some of the other ones that have kind of a sketch-comedy feel.”

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