Friday, January 11, 2013

The appeal of the last minute.

This weekend I am a writer part of two 'last minute' type of shows.

What is a 'last minute' type of show?

Just hold on now, I am getting there.

The show I am writing for that happens tomorrow is Theatre Unbound's 24:00:00 Extreme Theatre Smackdown. In this event, I show up tonight at 9:00 and am given a list of secret ingredients and the whole night to write a ten minute play. Oh yeah, and assigned a writer partner, usually someone I don't know, which adds to the fun of figuring each other out. Then in the morning, the play is given to a director and actors and then is perform at 8pm to much fanfare.

On Sunday, I am a writer on No Rest Sunday, which is a similar concept except with tighter deadline. At 10am we all meet and write comedy sketches and then at 2pm a director and actors take over and they are performed at 7pm that same day.

Get it? Good.

I know there are lot of other incarnations of this idea; the 48 hour film festival, the 12 hour film thing, 24hr play projects. Even one grad school interview had me write a play in four hours. Thinking on that now, I am really glad I made it that far in that process to get to do that. That was awesome and the piece that came out of it isn't too bad.

There is something magical about the last minute. Everyone is firing on all cylinders, the actors 'mostly' know their lines. The writers don't remember what they wrote in the frenzy. And then it is over, it's a lot like improv in that way, dismissing the need to have a long laborious process leading up to the final piece and just embracing the moment. I am not saying everything that comes out of these types of projects are gold, but that is part of the fun, seeing if something works or totally doesn't.

This will be my fifth and sixth 'last minute' theatre/sketch project. No Rest Sunday will run three times totally in January and probably again after that.

Go last minute.

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