ShortLived VI

36 Plays. 7 Weeks. 1 Champion. $5,000 on the line. YOU DECIDE.

And the winner is… (drum roll)

“All the Worlds Are Stages”
written by Ruben Gijalva
directed by Alejandro Torres


See full lineups and winners of each round below.

The nation’s largest, audience-judged theater competition, PianoFight’s ShortLived, returns with 36 short plays, all scored by the audience, and $5,000 on the line for the winning team.

“Good for theater” – NY Times
“Better than SNL” – SF Weekly
“A knock-out success” – East Bay Express

Each of the first six weeks of competition are Regular Season Rounds, feature six shorts that range from dramatic plays, comedic sketches, devised work, musicals, movement-based pieces or solo acts.

The audience scores each piece and the piece that scores highest in each round clinches a spot in the Finals (August 3-5). At the end of regular season competition, PianoFight will announce two Wild Card entries in the Finals – these will be the two highest scoring pieces from the regular season that did not win their round. Of the eight total plays in the Finals, the team that scores the highest will win the Finals and the $5,000 Grand Prize.

Hundreds of artists, making 36 plays, over 7 weeks, scored by audiences to crown 1 champion and the winner of $5,000. Get local. Get arty. Get in to ShortLived.


Round 1 Line-Up

“Eight is Great” – Matt Ginsberg
“All the Worlds are Stages” – Ruben Grijalva
“Would You Like The Tour?” – Danica Jayne Burt
“Unforgiven” – Alen Olejniczak
“Knives and Spoons” – Jake Arky
“A Baker’s Dozen” – Bridette Dutta Portman


“All the Worlds Are Stages”
written by Ruben Gijalva
directed by Alejandro Torres

 Round 2 Line-Up

“Slumbergate” – Boardman Alley Cats
“53” – Nicole Jost
“Beware the Killer Bees” – Spencer Bainbridge
“Small Batch Baby” – Jonathan Luskin
“White Iris” – Linda Giron
“Barky” – Charles Lerrigo


“Small Batch Baby”
written by Jonathan Luskin
directed by Clint Winder

Round 3 Line-Up

“Strange Bedfellows” – Jeremy Cole
“Fair Enough” – Sarah Kronisch
“Customer is King” – Kevin Vincenti
“Twin Peaks” – Barry Slater
“Parenting is a Bitch” – Moshe Goodman
“Doctors Nowadays” – Shae Burnette


“Twin Peaks”
written by Barry Slater
directed by Shaun Plander

Round 4 Line-Up

“The Magic Negro” – Kurt Weitzmann
“Waterboard” – Barry Eitel
“Steve in Valentineland” – Colin Johnson
“Hold Your Bloody Ground” – Maury Zeff
“X-Less” – Cary Pepper
“The Last Humans” – Ai Ebashi


“The Magic Negro”
written and directed by Kurt Weitzmann

Round 5 Line-Up

“Life’s Short” – Adham Aljahmi
“Please Seat Yourself” – Min Kahng
“Backstage” – Catherine Liu
“Freelancer” – Jason Mendez
“Where You’re From” – Jeffrey Lo
“Cereal Offender” – Sam Hurwitt


written and directed by Catherine Liu

Round 6 Line-Up

“Keane and Doyle” – Alan Coyne
“In the End” – Brian O’Beirne
“Fresno 2550” – Greg Bernstein
“Wedding Details” – D.E. Wade
“Dog House” – Neha Kamdar
“Runnin'” – Ramon Jackson


“Keane and Doyle are Spies”
written by Alan Coyne
directed by Kyle McCurdy


Round 1 Winner: “All the Worlds Are Stages” written by Ruben Gijalva & directed by Alejandro Torres
Round 2 Winner: “Small Batch Baby” written by Jonathan Luskin & directed by Clint Winder
Round 3 Winner:  “Twin Peaks” written by Barry Slater & directed by Shaun Plander
Round 4 Winner: “The Magic Negro” written and directed by Kurt Weitzmann
Round 5 Winner: “Backstage” written and directed by Catherine Liu
Round 6 Winner: “Keane and Doyle are Spies” written by Alan Coyne & directed by Kyle McCurdy
Wildcard 1: “Beware the Killer Bees” written by Spencer Bainbridge & directed by Claire Rice
Wildcard 2: “A Baker’s Dozen” written by Bridette Dutta Portman & directed by Kaeli Quick



WHO: Everybody in the Bay Area
WHAT: ShortLived 2017. The largest audience-judged theater competition in the country.
HOW: Artists compete. Audiences decide. Winner gets $5K.
WHEN: June 15 – August 5
WHERE: PianoFight’s Main Stage
WHY: Glory. Bragging rights. FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS.

Hello brethren. Do you think you’re good? You got what it takes to make an audience laugh, make them cry, think?

Well then PROVE IT. It’s that time of year where PianoFight gathers indy artists and storytellers of all stripes to compete in the nation’s largest audience-judged theater competition, ShortLived. And this is an open challenge.

No judges here, just the masses, who will vote on your fate and determine the winners. The grand prize is $5,000. That’s right, not 5 dollars, not 500 dollars, 5,000 big ones.

Competition starts Thursday June 15th and ends Saturday August 6th. There will be 6 Regular Season rounds, and one Championship round. Each round lasts one week and consists of three performances — a Thursday, Friday and Saturday night show. Each round will feature 6 short plays scored by each audience member to determine the winning piece. The winning piece of each Regular Season Round gets a spot in the Championship Round. The Championship Round will also include two Wildcard pieces, which will be the highest scoring pieces from the Regular Season that did not win a round. The Championship Round will include 8 total pieces,  have 5 performances, and the winner of the Championship Round wins the $5,000 cash prize.


  • GROUPS (Theater Co’s, Sketch Groups, Random collection of writers/actors/producers)
    If you’re part of any of the above, hit us up. Send a link to your site, a bit about the group, and the script you want to produce. If it’s totally freakin awesome, we’ll follow up and get you set up to compete.
  • INDIVIDUALS (playwrights, directors, producers, actors, solo artists)
    If you’ve got a script, or want to produce or direct for the competition, or want to act in this bad boy, hit us up. Send us your script, resume, headshot etc., and if it’s freaking dope, we’ll put you on a team and get you into the competition.


Simple – the $5,000 is split evenly between everyone involved in the play – ie, writer / performers / director / costume designer etc. all get the same share of the pie. If you are the only person who made your play, then you get $5K if you win the competition. If your play needed three actors, a writer and a director then each person gets $1K.


All scripts should run 12 mins or less. There is no minimum length requirement. Props, costumes and sets must be minimal. If your piece requires an animatronic dragon, don’t send it. It won’t get in. If you’re a director who has a piece in which you can craftily figure out a way to make a fire spewing dragon appear while staying within the competition’s technical constraints, please do send it.

Comedies, dramas, musicals, movement-based pieces, devised work, and solo pieces are all acceptable. The only style or genre requirement is that there must be a working script.

Scripts should be new. This must be the first time your script has been produced on its feet with no scripts in hand. For sketch group, that means you gotta write some new awesome, and can’t just submit a trusty crowd-favorite from your repertoire.

This is a Locals Only competition. That means you’ve gotta live in the Bay Area to submit.

Deadline to submit a script is Thursday April 20th at 11:59pm.
Submission should be standard script format – PDFs or Word docs are fine.
Email subject should explain what you’re submitting and who you are – here are some examples:
ROB READY – PLAYWRIGHT – “This Awesome Short Play Title”
MISSION CTRL – SKETCH GROUP – “Hella Funny Sketch Title”
CARLY RAE JEPSON – ACTOR – Headshot inside

Please send all submissions, inquiries, questions, etc to