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10 x 10 New Play Festival @ Barrington Stage, 2/16/14

10 x 10 Festival funny, thoughtful at Barrington Stage

By Steve Barnes

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A very short play needs only one idea or conceit. If well conceived and smartly executed, as are most of the 10 plays, each about 10 minutes long, comprising the third annual 10 x 10 New Play Festival at Barrington Stage Company, that one idea carries the play.

In “The Possethsion” by Ron Burch, for example, the premise is a question: Which is easier to live with, a 12-year-old girl or a demon? Two parents consider possibility that it might be the latter when their difficult, petulant, self-centered pre-adolecent — which is to say a pre-adolescent — is possessed by an evil spirit named Sethamungus. After whining, moods and repeated insistence on going to the mall, the dad, especially, almost welcomes hearing the demon say, “I care nothing for shoes or clothes; I want world domination.”

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