Originally Published: August 23, 2018 8:12 p.m.
Full productions from scratch all within one day
Your play will be ready in 24 hours – that’s all it takes
Once again, Prescott Center for the Arts is putting on its annual 24 Hour Play Festival this weekend, with open actor auditions starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24 and the plays running at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25 on the Main Stage.
The festival is in its third year now at the PCA and like with any annual event, building on what has been successful in the past is the key to growing, said Karen Murphy, member of the PCA’s 24 Hour Plays Festival Committee. There’s also a template in place due to it being a national initiative that was started back East and other theater groups tweak it to their capabilities, Murphy said.
What worked really well last year was the way auditions were done, she said. Anyone is welcome to audition and they have two minutes to do so.
“We have to cast it that night and then the playwrights have to start writing right away because the scripts are due at 6 a.m. that morning,” Murphy said “There’s a real kind of pressure cooker, beat the clock mentality to this whole process.”
The actors are asked if they have any special skills as well, something interesting that might give the playwright an idea to put into the script, she said.
Some of the directors who have been teamed up with playwrights are PCA directors who have come out of the mentorship program and others are directors from other theaters, Murphy said. The partnerships include Alex Gabaldon and Will Larson, Rob White and Julie Harrington, Benjamin Bartels and Mike Breen, Kate Hawkes and Nancy Dunham, Shana Lujan and Tamee Niekamp and Keenan King and Clint Slay.
Saturday sees rehearsals all day before the plays are put on for the public. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online at www.pca-az.net or at the door.
The PCA works to get the audience the whole package, to make it so the plays aren’t like staged readings, Murphy said. The actors have to memorize their scripts and get their blocking in the day of the shows.
“It’s a full type of production that just starts from scratch,” she said. “you usually hear ‘from page to stage’ … but with this, we say ‘from brain to page to stage’ because it just starts in that playwright’s mind and then we take it from there all the way through the process.”
There’s also going to be a band called The Impromptus providing music for the shows as well as while the plays and sets are changed, Murphy said.