Monday, May 7, 2007

Sheep to Shawl (and May Day Play Day)

I'm going to take part in a fun event over Memorial Day weekend: the May Day Play Day, produced here in Boston by the South City Theatre Company. I did this a few years ago and it was a blast (these types of 24-hour festivals are becoming increasingly popular).

What happens is this:
At 8pm, five playwrights are brought in to be randomly paired up with directors and actors. The writers are given a common theme or props or some unifying element that they have to include in the script.

After this, the writers go off and write all night long. (Or they just stay there in the theatre, which is more fun.) This is exciting at first, then scary, when it gets to be 2am and you realize that the idea that you've been working on might not seem quite so brilliant anymore, but there's no going back.

In the morning, the director shows up at the theatre, ready to read a brilliant new 10-15 minute play.

The actors show up and rehearse all day with the director, memorizing the lines and blocking the show.

Around 5pm, the tech director arrives and finds out what sorts of light and sounds cues are required.

At 8pm, the shows are fully mounted for an appreciative crowd.

The whole event has kind of a crazy energy, and the audience tends to pick up on it right away. The play I wrote in the first May Day Play Day, The Sky is Falling, has gone on to be published and gets done by lots of students.

If writing plays isn't your thing, you might want to check out the Sheep to Shawl Contest at the Waynesburg Sheep and Fiber Festival in Waynesburg, PA, on May 19th. (You just missed the one in Maryland). In just about three hours, teams will shear their sheep, card the wool, spin the yarn, and weave a shawl. That makes putting up plays seem easy.

No comments: