Shakespeare wrote that “all the world’s a stage”. While we’re away from our home and our beloved Coffeehouse Stage this year, we’ve learned this to be true, finding a new space in the Foster Hoosier Den. Like theatres all across the country, we’ve been especially eager to resume live performances, planning for an especially exciting year of theatre. On October 2, Collins LLC began our 21-22 theatre season with our very own rendition of the 24 hour play festival.
The model of the 24 hour play was first created by Tina Fallon in New York in 1995. 24 hour play festivals have since been produced by professional companies, community theatres, universities, and high schools around the globe.
The 24 hour festival begins, as the name suggests, exactly one day before the performance when brave actors show up in any wild costume they can dream up. Unsuspecting directors and playwrights showed up and people were randomly placed into casts with three actors, one director, and one playwright.
Over the course of the day, the plays are entirely written, blocked, rehearsed, and performed. Our version elicited three short plays: Nighthawks (By Lexi Baker, Directed by Kyle Kristoff), Prairie Problems (By Mar Robbins, Directed by Daniel Vesper), and The Time Traveler (By Zach Johnson, Directed By Ellison Oliger). The plays included moments of comedy, drama, and romance and spanned time from the 1920’s to the present day into the future.
A great deal of the event’s success can be attributed to the nine fabulous actors (Natanya Katz, Molly Manion, Amelia Redding, Heather Ahmann, Lydia Allerellie, Sarah Latona, Keaton Clulow, Aidan Cooper, and William Legato) who learned and performed their parts in just a day. Composed on veteran thespians and brand new performers alike, the cast breathed life and emotion into the scripts.
With the excitement of the 24-hour play festival behind, thespians at Collins have much to anticipate. Rehearsals are well underway for Twist of the Magi, the first full-length show of the year, to be performed December 4th.
Twist of the Magi, by Debra Rich, is based on O’Henry’s classic short story, Gift of the Magi. This updated version is set in an authentic 1940s radio station as a live, on-air broadcast, adding a slew of disgruntled actors, their reticent stage manager, a frantic sound effects technician, a delinquent Shakespearean prima donna; a jealous Italian femme fatale and a host of other broadcasting eccentrics. This classic tale of holiday love and generosity unfolds through a series of comic twists and turns as O’Henry’s heroine, Della, trades her beautiful hair to buy a Christmas gift for her devoted husband. Tortured by seller’s remorse, Della befriends an unlikely Yiddish Yenta, and the two women embark on a series of zany adventures to attempt to recover the lost locks.
Directed by Kyle Kristoff and Levi Gettleman and complete with music, silly sound effects, and delightful characters, Twist of the Magi is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
The spring is sure to bring more exciting theatre to Collins, including our very own performance of the words of the Bard himself, in classic Shakespeare in the Park format.
The hills may be alive with the Sound of Music, but I can say with certainty that the LLC is alive with the sound of theatre.