Tuesday, June 14, 2005

24-hour plays at The Old Vic

Creating and staging a play in 24-hours can be a great fundraiser as well as a lot of fun, reports Aleks Sierz in The Stage. The Old Vic will create and stage six ten-minute plays next weekend, produced by Kate Pakenham.
The way The 24 Hour Plays work is that “everyone comes together in the evening. You bring a prop, a piece of costume and declare a special skill. Last year, for example, Shaun Parkes said that he’d get naked, which no one took him up on”.

Penelope Wilton brought a cycling helmet as her prop and said she’d been learning to tango, but no one had ever asked her to dance. So in Michael Wynne’s short play, Cuba, there was a final moment in which Alex Jennings asks Wilton to tango. Jennings brought a piece of turf, and Abi Morgan wrote The Little People - a short about David Kelly (played by Bill Patterson) - which starts with him watering his lawn.

At 6am, the writers deliver their plays, giving the actors and directors just 12 hours to learn lines and put the work on its feet. “It’s amazing to see the trust among actors, how they help each other if they lose a line,” says Pakenham. “And the audience is really onside too. Last year, I was sitting right at the top of the Old Vic and it was like a Mexican wave of excitement coming off the stage.”

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