This summer I was delighted to learn my brother, Elliott Hayes had written several plays no one had ever seen before. Unpublished and yet to be produced they were discovered in boxes in The Stratford Festival Theatre of Canada Archives. I knew Elliott was a brilliant playwright, but I had no idea he had written so many wonderful plays.
Don't just take my word for it. Of course, I think he was a marvelous writer. Many others did too. Variety Magazine described Elliott as “a Canadian Noel Coward”. Canadian journalist Richard Ozounian described his play “Homeward Bound” as "one of the greatest plays that anybody has written in this country in my lifetime."
Renowned, Canadian author Margaret Atwood described his play Homeward Bound as "a brisk, intricate, and tightly-strung play with a lot of laughter." In a Globe & Mail feature, "Bound for Success" journalist Val Ross wrote "Hayes is emerging as one of Canada’s most successful playwrights.”
Shortly after this publication at age 37, in 1994, Elliott was tragically killed by a drunk driver as he was returning home from a recent trip to LA where he had just had dinner with Bette Midler to discuss her starring in one of his screenplays. His writing career was starting to really take off! Imagine what he might have accomplished if he had lived.
Elliott can't write any more plays, so finding these unknown dramas by him, is like discovering a theatrical treasure trove. I am excited to announce some of his newly discovered plays are now being made available for the first time through the Playwrights Guild of Canada - Canadian Play Outlet. In addition to several full length new plays, "Happily Ever After", "Jitterbug" and "As You Were" four of Elliott’s never before seen 10 Minute Plays were found and have just been released.
After a little research I learned that the first book of 10 Minute Plays was actually published by Pierce Loving back in 1923 and included plays by Arthur Schnitzler, Ferenc Molnar and August Strindberg.
The North American “official debut” of the 10 Minute Play as a genre is credited to the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s 1977 Humana Festival of New American Plays. Elliott’s 10 Minute Play “Poison” was first produced at the Louisville Humana Festival of New American Plays. This script was also published in “Ten Minute Plays from the Actors Theatre of Louisville”, Vol. 3 and has even been used in several powerful films - “Poison” directed by Hester Schell and a feature film "6 LA Love Stories" directed by Michael Dunaway.
10 Minute Plays have continued to grow in popularity evolving into an exciting theatrical phenomena. Now a legitimate theater genre, they are ideal for short play festivals, comedy, drama and dinner theater evenings.
The natural time constraint imposed by this form encourages playwright's to create fast paced development of characters and plot, enabling actors to showcase their dramatic talents in a brief period of time to the delight of enthusiastic audiences.
Elliott's New 10 Minute Plays
“Middle C"- A 10 Minute Play about Music: Three characters, two musician’s and their evolving relationship.
“Who’s Laughing” A 10 Minute satirical play about politics: Ted reluctantly attempts to tell a joke to Ray who's persistent irritating questions create an incredibly relevant, insightful satirical comedy about politics.
“Oh Brother” A 10 Minute Play on An Age Old Theme: Mark and Steve are at a male consciousness raising retreat. Their conversation in this comedy ultimately evolves into the age old theme of differences between men and women.
"National Geographic”- A 10 Minute Comedy: Four young people on a safari in the heart of Africa encounter a venomous snake. Terrified, they debate what their next move should be to try to avoid being bitten by this deadly serpent.
has spent her life adventuring all over the world. If you enjoy the stories and travel writing tips in this blog, you will also love her books: Amazon Hitchhiker:A Woman’s Adventures from Canada to Brazil and her award-winning children's book Milo and the Mustang.