Wow, what a weekend I had.
Rover Dramawerks, a theatre group out of Carrolton was doing a play festival project this weekend of seven short plays (10 to 15 minutes each) done totally from scratch in one twenty four hour period. These plays didn't even exist at 9:00 p.m. on Friday and all seven went on stage Saturday at 8:00 p.m. The idea is to come up with the ideas, write, produce, cast, rehearse, block, and stage the entire festival in just one day. Sounds impossible doesn't it? Well, it's not. I am here to tell you it definitely can be done.
With so little acting experience I probably didn't have any business whatsoever participating in this thing but it sounded intriguing and I am a glutton for punishment so I decided to go for it. Friday night there was a meeting to get information on what would be going on and to have a picture taken, quickly taken, really quickly. The casting was to be done based stricly on the pictures. Not a good thing, I figured I would end up being a tree. The other reason for the meeting was to put ideas in a hat for the writers to chose from and spend the night (literally) writing a play based only from this idea.
The writers began writing around 10:00 p.m. and wrote until they finished or until 5:30 a.m. whichever came first. Then the directors came in at 6:30 (a.m. again) and fought over the scripts and cast their plays from the pictures of the night before. At 8:00 a.m. (yep, still a.m.) the actors showed up to find out what they would be doing and had exactly twelve hours to learn the lines, rehearse, find costuming, props, etc. and be ready to perform in front of an audience at 8:00 p.m. The audience turned out to be around two hundred people.
Remember, I went into this thinking I would be a tree. No, not true. I was cast in a play about a topless donut shop as a waitress. NO I DIDN'T HAVE TO BE TOPLESS! The entire play took place in the break room and so all the waitresses' had all their clothes on.
Talk about baptism by fire. This part had somewhere around fifty lines with two small monologues. That was about fifty lines and two small monologues more than I had ever done on a stage, no----- more than anywhere. Nervous is not the word for my condition, panicky is much more like what I was feeling during this thing, especially so as the day went on and I was having a lot of trouble learning the lines. It seems that I was the only one in my play that was inexperienced at all. The other three cast members were seasoned actors, all the way to the one that actually teaches middle school theatre. The director was also experienced in the theatre and makes his living in the field.
So, as I mentioned, to say I was nervous didn't even come close. The longer the day got, the more I could see the in the director's eyes that he was not having a good time. I was just so nervous that I couldn't even follow the script not to mention learn the lines. I was sure I was going to make a very large fool of myself and ruin the entire thing for all my cast mates. Fortunately not only were my fellow actors experienced but they were all angels. They took it upon themselves to see that I didn't continue to panic and helped me with my part. They were lifesavers.
To make a long story a little shorter I DIDN'T BLOW IT, IN FACT I DID FINE.
I really did ok. I ended up getting through the entire play and even had several people from the audience who saw me later comment on how well I had done. They had no previous knowledge of my inexperience or panic so I have to assume they had really enjoyed it.
The play I think was one of the best ones that night and I know it got close to the most applause if not the most. Turns out I had a great time and plan to do it again, but not for a while. I had a good time, but I was totally exhausted when it was over.
All the plays were great and I am still so amazed that this could be done in ONE DAY ONLY.
By the way, if you are a casting director or are casting a part for your production, please notice I DID WELL!
At the bottom of this post is a link for comments, please feel free to share with me some of your thoughts on what you just read.