Monday, February 4, 2008

Play Time

RoboWriter's Assignment

In 2002-03, playwright Suzan-Lori Parks wrote a "play" a day. In 2007, theater companies all across America produced them seven at a time throughout the year in what was labeled an International Theater Festival. I saw an evening produced here by Collaboraction. Don Hall saw an evening produced at The Peter Jones Gallery. Another friend, known as Old Ned to the blog world, participated in an evening as an actor - sorry, I don't remember the company. The "plays" she wrote were all very short. Just a few lines of dialogue. What I do remember is that while the stunt was impressive, all the work I saw and have heard about was crap. Basically, it was much a doo-doo about nothing (sorry, couldn't resist). I think you can do better. I know you can.

The assignment for this week is to write a play a day for five days. A play, as defined by the Neo-Futurists, is anything having a beginning, a middle, and an end. Limit each play to one page. As you write new ones, take time to look at the previous ones and polish them up. Make them all distinct and stand on their own. If any of them demand more attention and need to expand, do it next week.


SOunds like the snowball is rolling on this. I have had people who are fans of this blog tell me they are going to do this and are spreading the word. Good job, everyone! On Tuesday, March 4th bloggers and fans of bloggers around the world are invited to do a Cyber Shout - "Impeach Bush Now!" Join us, won't you?


On Friday, I asked...

"Sign language interpreters in Thailand are getting into trouble for referring to the new prime minister by doing what?"

33% said "Pointing at their behinds"
- That's more a reference to how he gets to and from parliament. Old school. Rides a mule.

16% said "Rolling their eyes"
- I'm sure that's more to emphasize what foresight and vision the man has.

No one fell for "Picking their ears"

51% got it right with "Holding their noses"

According to the AP, Thai sign language interpreters often indicate prominent facial features as shorthand for dignitaries, and during a live broadcast of last Monday's parliamentary session, they held their noses between two fingers numerous times to refer to Samak. Samak Sundaravej, chosen in parliament last week as the first elected prime minister since a Sept. 2006 coup, has been nicknamed "Mr. Rose Apple Nose" because many claim his nose resembles the fruit. One interpreter, Kanittha Rattanasin, said this gesture has long been used for Samak but is drawing wide notice only now. "It is not meant as a nose joke," she said. "We have touched our noses for years to refer to Samak but people noticed this time because we had to repeat the movement over 300 times."

Anyone want to take a bite out this...

1 comment:

Old Ned said...

Hey Joe,

Thanks for mentioning me in connection with 365 days/365 Plays by Suzan Lori Parks.

I was in the Serendipity Theatre Collective production of it in early December 2006, featuring 10 or a dozen of the various "plays" directed alternately, by Matt Miller and Adam Belcuore.

I was in one called "This is shit" directed by Matt Miller. This was a single scene -- a view of a section of a theater audience from the moment the various audience members file in, claim their seats, settle in and leaf through their programs, react to the show and leave -- all this taking place in about 5 minutes. . . . We had a front row of low chairs, with stools behind it to represent the tiers of theater seats.

Included in the scene's "audience" were various characters like "Weeper" and "Laugher" who portrayed their named actions in reaction to the play going on before them. I was "Constantly Referring to Program," a man who kept referring to his program (duh). There were a couple of others too . . . one of them entered after the play had started, disturbing the other audience members . . . stuff like that . . .

Anyway . . . the way the scene went, after about 3 or 4 minutes of theater audience business and reactions to the performance, one of the characters rose up from her seat and indignantly exclaimed the only line written in the play -- which was of course, "This is shit!" She stormed out, spouting profanities in Spanish (ad libbed, as directed). At that point my character jumped up and yelled "Bravo!" (another ad lib), the rest of the "audience" rose up in their theater seats, applauded enthusiastically, and exited.

That was it.

The production was staged on the second floor of Webster's Wine Bar, and had a nice party feeling to it. The audience was well lubricated, but friendly, with most of them knowing at least one of the performers. I think that was about the right way to do "365 Days/365 Plays."

For me it was a fun evening, though not particularly significant for the theatrical experience.