It's time! Humboldt State University's 14th annual “10 Minute Play Festival” once again returns to the stage of the Gist Hall Theatre to present a fascinating series of original short works created by talented students from the university's playwriting classes.

Respected and innovative HSU theater professor John Heckel is coordinating this year's popular event. Heckel is taking over the reins from the festival's founder and longtime playwriting teacher, Margaret Kelso.

As in previous years, these concentrated mini-productions will alternate styles in their individually unique artistic approach to every genre -- ranging from naturalistic drama to absurdist comedy and fantasy. Using mixed media to enhance the audience's experience, the subject matter will be both wide and intriguing.

HSU's aspiring playwrights will explore many challenging contemporary social issues including the personal effects of gender, race, addiction and popular culture on their various characters' lives in each self-contained creation. It's all about relationships.

For instance, Jessica Charles' play looks at the influence of the media on personal relationships in “Curse of the MTV Generation;” Christin Hunter's “Bottom of the Bottle” examines the decisive moment in a woman's relationship with her alcoholic boyfriend and Keosha Chambers explores misunderstandings in a same-sex relationship in “Leap of Faith.”

Heckel describes the collective “through line” of these, and the rest of the plays showcased in the festival, as “the need of human beings to make contact and connection -- of wanting to be recognized, to be heard.”

Produced by HSU's Department of Theatre, Film and Dance, just five performances of the “10 Minute Play Festival” will be staged on campus in the Gist Theatre: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday.

For tickets, call the HSU Ticket Office at 826-3928, or purchase them at the door. Tickets are $5 general/$3 seniors/students, with a limited number of free seats available for HSU students at each performance.

If you go

What: HSU 10 Minute Play Festival

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: HSU Gist Theatre

Admission: $5 general, $3 seniors/students