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'Tis the season for one-act plays. Two community theaters explore the idea that brevity is the soul of wit with one-act play festivals, featuring, for the most part, new works, and in the case of Gulfport Community Players, works by Florida playwrights.

The West Coast Players of Clearwater is holding its first one-act festival, staging plays such as A Line of Malarky by Sarasota playwright Larry Parr. Pictured here, the cast includes Rosalyn Savel, left, and Lorus A. Hawbecker.

"We received about 175 responses to our invitation for submissions, with entries from Singapore, England, Israel and Canada, as well as most of the states,'' festival producer Jim Brennan said. "We whittled that down to the eight.''

All the plays are new to the Tampa Bay area, and they are short, running 10 or 15 minutes apiece, with small casts and minimal staging. The audience will be asked to vote on favorites, with the winning playwrights receiving a prize. "Our aim is to promote new plays, new directors, new actors,'' Brennan said.

The West Coast Players festival has shows at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at its 84-seat theater at 21905 U.S. 19 N, Clearwater. $15. (727) 437-2363;

The Gulfport summer one-act festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary, with a lineup of 10 short plays. "They're all original plays, and the playwrights are all Floridians,'' said Eileen Navarro, president of the theater's board. Two writers - Vic Carr and Gailand Kiltz - have multiple plays in the festival.

The festival opens tonight and runs through July 18 at Catherine Hickman Theatre, 5501 27th Ave. S, Gulfport. Shows are at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. $15. (727) 322-0316;