Had the opportunity last night to attend the culminating performances in an event titled "24 Hours" held by Parallax Theatre Company. Founded by UArts grad Ryan Touhey in March 2009, Parallax has emerged as a dynamic and thought provoking new theatre company in Philadelphia with a mix of established and original new works receiving a lot of acclaim and recognition in the Philadelphia Theatre scene. For anyone who is interested, here's their link: http://www.ParallaxTheatreCo.org/Par...eCo./Home.html
"24 Hours" was an extraordinarily creative approach to blend some fund raising with the staging of performances. Over a period of 24 hours, a team of writers, directors, production managers and actors gathered to create and stage 5 1 act dramas and a 1 act musical. Six writers, 6 directors, 6 production managers, 19 actors, 2 producers, a stage manager and lighting designer, drawn from a variety of Philadelphia area theatre companies, some from as far as NYC and many from the UArts community. The process started at 7 pm on Friday when everyone gathered to socialize and get to know each other. Then the theme of the project was announced: create a 1 act based on a selection of 50 headlines from the last 24 hours. Each writer picked a headline to use as a prompt, the directors and writers paired off, they then selected the actors (3 for each drama and 4 for the musical) and then at 10 pm the writers left to start writing their plays. At 7:30 am on Saturday, the writers, directors and actors gathered, the actors were given their scripts, and for the rest of the day, all of the details involved in the production, staging and rehearsing of 6 original 1 acts were undertaken. At 8 pm, the show opened to a capacity crowd at UArts Caplan Theatre in the Terra Building.
From the perspective of the audience, it was a wonderful experience. Some riotously funny, others seriously thought provoking, all of them well acted and staged, the plays gave the audience an extremely enjoyable opportunity to experience the creative process in a very different way. There was something very exciting and fresh to watch productions which had the raw energy of a piece not vetted through weeks of rehearsals and "finishing". From speaking to those involved in the productions, from writers to the actors, the immersion in such an intensely focused collaborative creative process was an incredibly exhilarating experience.
And congrats to bktheatre's D who played the daughter in "Hazardous to the Body", about toxic waste and the different sides of the impact it has on the lives of families and our society.