Sunday, March 8, 2020

Play in a Day

Play in a Day is as its name implies a fast paced day where the the plays are written and produced in just one day. The nine writers were given the theme and their individual ‘twist’ at the beginning of a 12-hour period of their own choosing and that was their window for creating the script for their original 10 minute play. The directors and performers knew nothing of their script until it was unveiled to them bright-and-early Saturday morning, they then had one day to produce the work by that evening's opening curtain at 7pm.

Play in a Day 2019 had 107 participating artists, 82 of them, including every playwright, director and stage manager, were women. In addition, each production team was assigned a title under the umbrella theme "Men". The #MeToo movement inspired a female empowered cast and crew since women are a powerful force in the Orlando theater community.

When I arrived all the actors and crew were gathered in the Lake Howell High School (4200 Dike Rd, Winter Park, FL 3279) cafeteria. There were donuts, beagles and other breakfast items. I sipped some caffeine to get my drawing hand twitching. Each production crew already seemed to be grouped together and I wondered which production team I should sketch. Since I had sketched actress Melanie Leon before in various shows around town, I asked if she could talk to her director about having an artist shadow their rehearsals for the day. The director agreed and soon I was sketching them as they performed the first reading of the play at a small round table.

The table was already a perfect setting since the play written by Tracey Jane was titled "The Dinner Conversation." Tracy had worked remotely and couldn't be at the rehearsals but her humor and heart felt writing, affected every scene and interaction between the characters. Around the table sat director Kaitlyn Harrington, who was open to suggestions as the actors became familiar with their parts, yet she guided them deftly. The stage manager was Destiny Sam. The actors were Ken Preuss, his son, Bennet Preuss, Melanie Leon, and Jac LeDoux. Over the course of the day I got to see the challenges overcome as the cast committed lines to memory and transformed into their characters. The tight deadline created a level of team work and support among artists that was absolutely inspiring.

100% of the proceeds from Play in a Day went directly to the BMP Theatre Scholarship Fund and TOP TEENS. This money allows teens to attend master class intensives on all areas of theatre, film/TV, arts administration, activism, acting, directing, play writing, tech, education and leadership. The artists get to study for the month of June and then present a showcase. Scholarships are given to the artists to use to pursue their respective areas in the arts as they wish.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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