Call for Writers for upcoming 24 Hour Play Project on February 6 & 7, 2009

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by Matthew A. Everett • 10/17/08 • I’m helping Theatre Unbound out again as volunteer playwright wrangler for their 24 Hour Play Project. So I thought I’d put out a general call to see if there were interested writers among the readership…

Theatre Unbound will be presenting another 24 Hour Play Project on February 7, 2009.

This is one of the main fundraising events for the company for the year and it’s always a lot of fun.

We need playwrights with availability from 9pm Friday, February 6th until 6am Saturday, February 7th.

For those who are new:

The 24 Hour Play Project is exhilarating! (and perhaps exhausting, and other ex words I will leave to your imagination)

Friday night twelve playwrights are locked into a space, paired up and given “ingredients” to write a 10 minute play.

These “ingredients” usually consist of an object, an emotion, a quote or line of dialogue, and something else random.

These four things will be common to all the plays, but what the writers choose to do with them from there is up to them.

(Oh and snacks. Let us not forget the snacks – and coffee, and other caffeinated beverages 🙂

Cast size and composition – number and gender of actors – will also be assigned before the writing starts.

The next morning, six directors come in to read and analyze scripts.

The scripts are cast and rehearsed that morning and afternoon and finally presented that evening.

Phew!!

The 24 Hour Play Project will be presented in conjunction with the Theatre Unbound annual Benefit and Silent Auction at Theatre Unbound’s new home in The Neighborhood House of the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Center, 179 Robie Street East, St. Paul, MN 55107.

Playwrights will receive free admittance to the event, plus a discount pass to give to a guest.

This is obviously a charity event, so everyone will be working out of the goodness of their hearts – but there will be complimentary food and libation at the event for your enjoyment.

More details for the potential writers about the process itself…

To those of you who’ve done this before, much will be familiar.

But we’re also continuing to experiment with the formula a bit.

We’ll be pairing the teams again ahead of time like we have the past two years, as it seemed very helpful.

As in the past, it’s six teams of two writers each. Once we get initial responses from those who are interested in participating as playwrights, we’ll let people choose their partners up front, rather than leave it to the laws of chance on the night of the writing session.

I’ll send out a list of the participating writers to each of the interested writers individually, and then you can respond to me with your top three preferences for partners (or if you just want to leave it up to us to pair you, that’s fine, too).

All teams will still include at least one female writer (in some cases both, since the majority of the writers we try to recruit will be women in the first place – this is Theatre Unbound, after all 🙂 But all writers – male, female and… however you care to define yourself, are welcome.

We’re also soliciting ideas again this year (like the past two years) for the ingredients to be included in the plays from a cross section of theater folk (in fact, I’ll be blogging about that, too, in just another minute). We got so many suggestions last year that after I passed them on to the powers that be at Unbound, they had to whittle the choices down a bit to make the ballot manageable.

The ballot will then be posted online through which the general public, us included, can vote for their favorites. I’ll post more details on the voting window, when and for how long it goes live online, etc., once they get that hammered out.

The winning ingredients will be revealed to the writers on the night they are to write the plays.

(Though if you’re a writer, you can certainly view the ballot and do whatever homework you like in advance, if you wish)

Feel like joining the experiment…?

Email me if you’re interested and available to participate as a writer on those dates.

My primary email is mail AT matthewaeverett DOT com

Since my spam filter is selectively mischievous, it’s also a good idea just to copy the message to browder268 AT yahoo DOT com as well, just to be on the safe side.

Thanks.

I’ve done a few of these 24 Hour Play Projects in the past myself. Examples of ideas that I’ve come up with in the middle of the night with fellow writers Anne Bertram, Carol Critchley, Holly Davis, and Chris Kidder can be seen here, here, here, here, here, and here

Also, we’ve started publishing collections of the final scripts as an additional fundraiser for Theatre Unbound, for those writers who want to pitch their scripts in for the cause beyond the 24 Hour weekend. You can check out Volume 1 here.