In a time when most people are looking to get the biggest bang for their buck, one Brookfield man has put together an evening of entertainment that is big on laughs but easy on the wallet. 

On Saturday, Nov. 15, the village of Brookfield and Brookfield Recreation Department are sponsoring the “Ten in 10 Play Festival” at the St. Barbara Parish Center, 4008 Prairie Ave. For $10 a ticket, audiences will enjoy an evening of fast-paced comedy and drama packed into 10 plays that will each last around 10 minutes. 

The unique event is the creation of Michael Rovner, a lifelong Brookfield resident who has spent years as a playwright, poet and musician. Rovner, who is also producing the event, was inspired to develop an evening of short plays after attending a writer’s convention. 

“One of the classes I had was on [a similar concept], and it just kind of seemed like something that would fit in our town,” said Rovner, the son of longtime Brookfield Recreation Department staffer Arlene Rovner.

While theaters across the area have showcased short plays in the past, Rovner says the concept of having so many short individual plays in one sitting is not as common. He believes that in a community like Brookfield where many residents and children participate in and attend local theater productions, hosting the “Ten in 10 Play Festival” in town was worth a shot.

“I thought it was something different to put on,” he said. “It’s also a little bit easier to do short plays than to put on a big production.”

For the festival, each play is written by a different author, made up of small casts and consists of a beginning, middle and end. All of the plays are independent from one another and use very little scenery in order to allow the casts to seamlessly move between shows. As soon as each play ends, the lights will dim and the curtains will close as a cue to the audience that the next show will begin. 

In order to find a cast and crew for the festival, Rovner says that word of mouth throughout local theater communities is what really brought the idea to life. 

“I talked to a couple of people with Westchester Civic Theatre [and] Theatre of Western Springs and they have just been so great,” he said. “The whole theater community has been helpful in finding other people that would want to be involved with it.”

Rovner recruited actors and writers from area colleges, theater groups and Chicago Dramatists, an organization where playwrights, actors and producers in the area come together to collaborate on ideas and projects. 

“A lot of the actors are people who have done things at other local theaters around us, but a couple of our directors brought people they knew, and some of it was from open casting calls,” he said.

Overall, there are 10 writers and about 40 people involved with the productions. All of the 10 shows have rehearsed independently since late September. 

Rovner hopes that the community really finds the festival both unique and entertaining.

“It’s something that if it turns out well, we’re hoping to do once a year,” he said. 

Tickets for “Ten in 10” can be purchased at the door the night of the festival or in advance at the Brookfield Village Hall, 8820 Brookfield Ave.

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