Review by Liza White
NOTE: In honor of the talents of the writers, actors, and directors who create respectable works of theatre in 24 hours and rehearse them in 9 hours, I plan to write this review in 10 minutes (not including the time it takes me to post this on our blog which may take me the rest of the afternoon - Start Time 12:01 PM).
Ten years ago a phenomenon hit the New York theatre scene when a group of friends challenged each other to write, rehearse, and perform 6 plays in 24 hours. It was intended to be a one night stand sort of event but here I sit in 2006 in awe of one of their productions. For 5 days during the NY Fringe Festival the producers of the 24 Hour Plays are presenting 25 of their and the audiences top pics.
I saw the Thursday night performance which included: “Karla Says” by Mac Rogers, “The Woman” by Michael John Graces, “Vikings!” By Greta Billinger, “Poor Bob” by Elizabeth Meriwether, and “A Weekend in Brazil” by Ted Travelstead and Julie Wright. I was impressed by the quality of the writing but more so by the subtle nuances and grace the actors brought to the scripts in only 9 hours of rehearsal. Most notable was Karla Mosley in “Karla Says” for her duality of character as a child entertainer turned unfaithful spouse. (It is now 12:14 PM) Another standout was “Poor Bob” about a hysterical girl on the crux of adulthood who still in love with fictional character Atreyu from the film “The Never Ending Story”. Her hysterics lead to a ball gag, a yahtzee game purchased on e bay, and an unobservant lover with a turkey hat. Meriwether’s crafty writing gives us an humorous take on childhood obsessions.
The night led to other enjoyable moments such as a Spanish speaking orgasm, a retarded boy named Jesus Christ who mistakenly kills his friend with a rubber ball, and Vikings giving each other bouquets of flowers and debating the manliness of this. The triumph of creating not only comprehensible works of theater in a day, but creating enjoyable worthwhile theater in such a short time is commendable and quite frankly as fun for the audience as it seems for the artists involved...perfect for the Fringe. (Time 12:37…I received a phone call, had to do some googling and run spell check. I'm just not cut out for the 10 minute review.)
The Best of the 24 Hour Plays is playing at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street. Tuesday Aug 22 at 11, Wednesday Aug 23 at 6:15, Thursday Aug 24 at 6:15, Saturday Aug 26 at 8:45 and Sunday Aug 27 at 6. Check out www.24hourplays.com or www.fringenyc.org for more information.
According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.