Photos from “The Zookeeper’s Arm” in 24-hour play project

The cast of THE ZOOKEEPER'S ARM. From left, Paul Stober, Nicholas McCord, Amanda Mansfield, Ronald Blanks Jr., Bayla Sussman, and John Bergman. Photo by Susan K.

The cast of THE ZOOKEEPER’S ARM. Photo by Susan K.

For the fifth time in ten years, I was one of the writers to take part in OVERNIGHT SENSATIONS, the 24-hour play project put on by Mill Mountain Theatre and Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.

Everyone gathers on Friday night. The playwrights draw out of a hat the name of their director — I drew Maura Campbell. She drew the cast. Then I drew the genre (crime drama), the setting (the zoo) and the theme (“from the jaws of hell, I stab at thee”). Then the writers are whisked off to the Hollins library to write. By 8 a.m. Saturday, we’re expected to have a 10-minute script. The morning is spent going over revisions with the director, a production meeting — then the cast shows up for rehearsal at noon. At 8 p.m., the curtain goes up.

Here are some photos from this year’s festivities:

We all gathered Friday night in the lobby at Center in the Square. That producer Todd Ristau in the center.

We all gathered Friday night in the lobby at Center in the Square. That producer Todd Ristau in the center.

Playwright Lydia Stewart was the first to draw from the hat.

Playwright Lydia Stewart was the first to draw from the hat.

Maura Campbell draws our cast.

Maura Campbell draws our cast.

Our theme. Really.

Our theme. Really.

The prop table. Yeah, that's a severed arm.

The prop table. Yeah, that’s a severed arm.

Rehearsal. I missed most of it. Partly because I don't want to interfere with the director. And partly because I was sleeping.

Rehearsal. I missed most of it. Partly because I don’t want to interfere with the director. And partly because I was sleeping.

Police officer confronts a zookeeper over a severed arm. Photo by Susan K.

Police officer confronts a zookeeper over a severed arm. Photo by Susan K.

The piece moves back and forth in time. Here, the zookeeper takes out on her frustrations in chopping up meat for the animals. She's corrected by the head of animal care. Photo by Susan K.

The piece moves back and forth in time. Here, the zookeeper takes out on her frustrations in chopping up meat for the animals. She’s corrected by the head of animal care. Photo by Susan K.

The officer interrogates the head of animal care (left) and the zoo director (right).

The officer interrogates the head of animal care (left) and the zoo director (right). Photo by Susan K.

The officer with the interpreter who plays Captain Ahab.

The officer with the interpreter who plays Captain Ahab.

More interrogation. Photo by Susan K.

More interrogation. Photo by Susan K.

You can find more photos here.

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