ShortLived VII

48 Plays. 9 Weeks. 1 Champion. $5,000 on the line. YOU DECIDE.

The nation’s largest, audience-judged theater competition, PianoFight’s ShortLived, returns with 48 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

The first eight weeks of competition are Regular Season Rounds, and each week features six new 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 22-25). 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 48 plays, over 9 weeks, scored by audiences to crown 1 champion and the winner of $5,000. Get local. Get arty. Get in to ShortLived.

The Finals – August 22-25

WINNER: No Country For Old Henchmen by The Geek Show
Abducted by Kenneth Heaton
09.16.2076_TEST_RM_D by Brennan Pickman-Thoon
Oscar Wilde Slept Here by Terry Maloney Haley
Buddy Cop by Mike Ottum and Elaine Gavin
A Tale by Andrew Calabrese
Dear Gloria by Lili Weckler
Predator Block Tango by Lauren Mackenzie and Stacie Sells

Round 1 – June 14-16

WINNER: Abducted by Kenneth Heaton
by Bridgette Dutta Portman
Icelandia by Maury Zeff
Bedtime Story by Elizabeth Flanagan
Man… Oh Quinn by Chris Chase
The Perfect Wingman by Myles Romo

Round 2 – June 21-23

WINNER: 09.16.2076_TEST_RM_D by Brennan Pickman-Thoon
The Tale of Lady Murasaki
by Ai Ebashi
The Dead of Colma by  Tessa Nichols
The Modern Hell by Jeanie Ngo
For Our Benefits by Kurt Weitzmann
Explosion of Life by Barry Eitel

Round 3 – June 28-30

WINNER: Oscar Wilde Slept Here by Terry Maloney Haley
The Princess Diaries
by Lauren Gorski
Maybe This Time by  Alanna McFall
What’s Not To Love by Cleavon Smith
Last Train To Rockridge by Robin Bradford
Movies Today by John Brown III

Round 4 – July 5-7

WINNER: Buddy Cop by Mike Ottum and Elaine Gavin
Bringing Up Muriel by Karl Schackne
Sinkhole by Patsy Fergusson
Keane And Doyle Are Wizards by Alan Coyne
Reach Out And Kill Someone by Sunil Patel
White Christmas by Nicole Jost

Round 5 – July 12-14

WINNER: A Tale by Andrew Calabrese
Lema Sabachtani by Emmanuel Romero
Hottest Circle In Hell by Spencer Bainbridge
Tuesday by Gabriel Leif Bellman
The Ring Of Truth by Susan Rabin
Seats 32A and B by Marsha Roberts

Round 6 – July 19-21

WINNER: No Country For Old Henchmen by The Geek Show
Procreation-Ed by Black Cat Comedy
Psychic Dick by Please Leave the Bronx
Tell Him What He’s Won, Johnny! by Danica Jayne
Set The Stage by Dan Linley
Hook Up by David TalleyLineup coming soon.

Round 7 – July 26-28

WINNER: Dear Gloria by Lili Weckler
Zombie Nerd by Christian Simonsen
Losing Your Mind On Purpose by Michael James Hawkins
Underneath The Above And Below by Laylah Muran De Assereto
Smoke And Mirrors by Stacey Winn
One Thing by Jaene Leonard

Round 8 – Aug 2-4

WINNER: Predator Block Tango by Lauren Mackenzie and Stacie Sells
The Welcome Inn by Nancy Cooper Frank
The 6:50 Express by Cynthia Francis
Celery For Two by Tracy Shapiro
Funeral For A Co-Worker by Isaac Ontiveros
Size Queen by Sam Hurwitt

Note: The Finals (August 21-25) will not go on sale until after Round 8 is complete.


WHO: Everybody in the Bay Area
WHAT: ShortLived 2018. The largest audience-judged theater competition in the country.
HOW: Artists compete. Audiences decide. Winner gets $5K.
WHEN: June 14 – August 25
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 14th and ends Saturday August 25th. There will be 8 Regular Season rounds, and one Finals round. Each round lasts one week and consists of three performances — a Thursday, Friday and Saturday night 8pm 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 Finals. The Finals will include 8 total pieces,  have 5 performances, and the winner of the Finals 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. [Non-Equity artists only]


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 10 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 groups, 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.


PianoFight’s New Faces Day / ShortLived Auditions happen on on Sun, April 22 from 10am-5pm.

To sign up for a slot, email with a subject like:

ROSARIO DAWSON – ACTOR – Headshot / Resume

Include in your email a headshot and resume and a time during the day when you’re available. We’ll get back to you with an audition slot.

It’s group audition that lasts less than an hour. You’ll do a warm up, a game, a cold read, and some singing. No need to prepare a monologue, and don’t worry about the singing – just go for it and have fun!


To be considered as a ShortLived Director, please send your resume to with the subject:


Deadline to submit for Directors is Fri, April 20th. We’ll follow up with a quick interview. 


Script Submission Deadline is Thursday May 3rd 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:

SUZAN LORI PARKS – PLAYWRIGHT – “This Awesome Short Play Title”
MISSION CTRL – SKETCH GROUP – “Hella Funny Sketch Title”

Please send all submissions, inquiries, questions, etc to