Slow Dating on stage for short and sweet

Monologue: Actor Penelope Hunt and director Lis Shelley of Footprint Theatre rehearse for the upcoming performance of "Slow Dating" at the Canberra Short and Sweet Play Festival.

Monologue: Actor Penelope Hunt and director Lis Shelley of Footprint Theatre rehearse for the upcoming performance of "Slow Dating" at the Canberra Short and Sweet Play Festival.

How long does it take to tell a good story? All you need 10 minutes if Short and Sweet Canberra is anything to go by.

Pambula-based touring theatre company Footprint Theatre is currently rehearsing a short play for its third Short and Sweet Play Festival in Canberra.

Dubbed as the "biggest little play fest", the event features 30 ten-minute plays over two weeks from Canberra, interstate and overseas.

Invited back to this year’s festival, Director Lis Shelley selected a monologue called “Slow Dating” from more than 30 short-listed plays.

“Scripts are submitted anonymously. The quality of the writing really needs to be exceptional to stand out,” Ms Shelley said. 

“This one’s a cracker of a play, full of humour, that breaks down stereotypes around ageing. Once its pedigree was revealed, I was even more excited to be directing it.” 

The script, by Sydney playwright Adam Szudrich, has already had considerable international success. Selected for the New Voices Play Festival in West Virginia and the Milwaukee One Act Festival.

Penelope Hunt.

Penelope Hunt.

It won the People’s Choice Award at the Sydney Short+Sweet Festival and has just been selected for the New York New Works Theatre Festival – a competition picked by Broadway Producers, Emmy Award Winners, and Tony Award Winners.

“The performance will have hilarious comedic parts but is also very poignant, it is a bit of a roller coaster but it really is a beautifully written script,” Ms Shelley said.  

"I also recently found out that Slow Dating got picked for the New York New Works Festival and will be on in Broadway."

Merimbula actor Penelope Hunt will play the role of ‘Ester’, a 70-something self-confessed happily married woman, who reluctantly attends a Speed Dating event for seniors.

Local audiences will recall Penny’s recent performances as Martha Brewster in Footprint’s “Arsenic and Old Lace” and ‘Clairee’ in Theatre Onset’s “Steel Magnolias”.

Ms Shelley and Ms Hunt have only been working on the play for around six weeks but they are still hoping for a good result. 

The play “Slow Dating” is in Week one of the Short+Sweet Festival, at 7.30pm from Tuesday August 9 until Friday August 12 at the Canberra Theatre Centre.

The Festival is judged by theatre professionals and audience members also vote for the People’s Choice Award. A successful performance could see the play enter the Festival’s Gala Final on Saturday, August 20.

Tickets are available on the Canberra Theatre website. 

The pair are also hoping to bring their play to the Sapphire Coast to perform to residents around November.