As they successfully did this past summer, Giulia and Matt organized another iteration of Play In A Day this past month. And it was great. Thank you, guys!
What is Play In A Day? In a nutshell, a group of people collaborate to create a play, from inception to production, in just 24 hours. Insane! One may sign up as either a writer, director, or actor. Plays should be about 10 minutes in length. Multiple plays are created in parallel and they are all performed together the following day in front of a paying audience. Whew.
I was out of the country when they did they did the first one this past summer so I wasn’t able to participate or even see the finished product, which I heard was excellent. But I sure as hell was here this time and was eager to take part. I made sure to not schedule any 39 Steps rehearsals that day and got my entire cast involved, as well. Jan was also eager to participate but we had to synchronize our efforts to ensure the kids weren’t neglected any more than usual, so that meant that one of us had to write and the other could either direct or act. We both wanted to act, but Jan was more against the idea of writing than I was so I signed up as a writer.
Now, I hate writing. Not writing plays specifically. I had never written a play in my life! Just writing anything. Like what I’m writing right now, for example. I usually love the finished product but I find the process to be very stressful. That’s the main reason why this blog has been so woefully ignored as of late. But I decided that a jaunt out of my comfort zone would be enriching so I took the plunge.
And did I stress.
I remember about two weeks before the event, I decided that I would just start writing (cheating) well in advance to avoid as much stress as possible. If not a complete play, at least a rough storyline or a few quality character outlines. I remember watching a few episodes of It’s Always Sunny… and thinking how I would love to be able to write such funny and chaotic stories and characters. They were an early inspiration for the eventual anarchy that would inevitably result. But I didn’t write anything. More out of laziness than anything else. I think I was hoping that last-minute inspiration would see me through. I was stressed.
But not really. I was kind of excited, to tell you the truth. I had accepted the fact that I wouldn’t be writing a magnum opus in just 10 hours, and was sure that anything I wrote would be good enough for a director to play with and for a group of actors to make their own. But the night before the event I did sit down with Jan for about 15 minutes and brainstorm a few different approaches I could take. And I credit her 100% with the inspiration for what was to follow.
It may have ended up a little longer than intended. With more sound cues and costume/character changes than I’m sure were appreciated by the director and actors. But I’m happy with the final result. I think it’s funny. So here it is, my first play. If you’d like, you may read it here:
The School Nativity Play [PDF, 21 KB]
(and yes, I did stay up most of the next day creating the 15 needed sound cues, including four original song snippets)