The ten-minute play is burgeoning in the United States, yet it is a phenomenon which has received virtually no critical attention. Here, a contributing playwright places the ten-minute play – and its cousin, the ‘overnight’ play – within an historical and theoretical context in order to examine the aesthetic and political implications of the genre. Rick Mitchell's discussion thus ranges between the history of the one-act play, Walter Benjamin's essay on storytelling, Bertolt Brecht's notions of ‘complex’ (as opposed to ‘simple’) pleasures and epic acting, Filippo Marinetti's writings on the variety theatre, and Chekhov's ideas about the strengths of the short, nonsensical, vaudeville farce. Rick Mitchell also relates his own recent experience in creating a ten-minute comedy, Acadiana Sludge – written, rehearsed, and performed (off-book) in less than twenty-four hours – and the text of this play augments the article. Rick Mitchell's other plays include Brecht in L.A., Ventriloquist Sex, Urban Renewal, Potlatch, and The Composition of Herman Melville, recently published by Intellect Books. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at California State University, Northridge, where he directs the Northridge Playwrights Workshop, and he has published numerous articles about performance, theory, and playwriting.