Monday, November 14, 2011

Play in a Day - Tech

Play in a Day at the Orlando Shakes, featured 20 actors, 7 writers and 7 directors. A lottery done the day before picked the creative teams for the seven plays. Each play was given a 20-30 minute tech. Tech is when the play is rehearsed in the theater so sound and lighting cues can be worked out. One of the plays referenced the set... "It looks like a children's theater show gone horribly wrong!" I sketched as the play "Out On Top" written by Kenny Babel was being rehearsed. Kenny wrote the play between 2am and 4am the night before. Elizabeth Murff as the wife, Steven Johnson and Anthony Pyatt as the sons, played family members who just lost their father. The father had died in a freak accident at the opening of LEGO Land. He had climbed a LEGO Empire State Building and fell. A Bank of America skyscraper pierced his heart. In one scene the two boys stood with their hands at their wastes as if at a urinal as they spoke about their father.

Family Road Trip which I had been sketching all day entered the theater to polish their tech. John Connon slipped up on a line and then he shouted, "I f*cked it up ya'll!" He followed with, "I wanna do art and I wanna get paid!" Both lines are classic Beth Marchall standards, delivered with her distinctive sharp southern drawl. Beth said, "I wanna be famous just so drag queens can play me. Also I wanna make tons of money so I can throw it at talented people." She walks the walk. Posing for photos with the cast, she compared tattoos with John for Kristen Wheeler behind the camera which made me happy since I had painted the makeshift tattoos on John as a lark using my portable watercolor set.

Soon the theater filled with an audience. Beth stood, "Thank you for coming to Play in a Day and what a long day it has been." Lindsay Cohen who had written "Welcome to Heaven" sat in my row. She seemed nervous since she had no idea how the audience would react, and she didn't get to see the development process. When the audience responded with thunderous applause I glanced over and saw her relax.

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