Posts Tagged 24-hour play festival

Overnight Sensations 2019: The making of a 24-hour play

For the eighth time in 12 years, I was one of the writers in Overnight Sensations, a 24-hour play festival organized by the Hollins University Playwright’s Lab and Mill Mountain Theatre. I drew dream play in a furniture factory with a specific line of dialogue from Shakespeare. What I came up with: A drifter seeks overnight accommodations in an abandoned furniture factory. He blows some notes on a saxophone, which makes pieces of furniture come to life — and they want to perform Hamlet. Conveniently, Hamlet mentions a bed, a table, a couch, a desk and a table, so everyone has a part in A COUCH FOR LUXURY AND DAMNED INCEST. Here’s how it all went down:

1. Friday night. We gather at Mill Mountain Theatre, with Todd Ristau presiding.

2. The six writers draw their director from a hat. After that, the writers and director alternate in drawing a cast, a genre, a setting and a theme — which this year came in the form of a line from Shakespeare that we had to use as dialogue.

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Photos from “They Always Blame The Snake”

Here are photos from THEY ALWAYS BLAME THE SNAKE, my entry in the 2017 edition of OVERNIGHT SENSATIONS, the 24-hour play festival sponsored by Hollins University and Mill Mountain Theatre. My prompts: The reptile house, a farce, and the theme “do you trust them or do you not want to suspect them?”

Claire Hilton is the paranoid chameleon who wonders why the new arrival, the snake played by Bonny Branch, is in pain.

The result: Two bumbling criminals break into the reptile house, having tried to smuggle cocaine into the country in the belly of a snake shipped to the zoo. Instead, they find a DEA agent inside.

These photos come courtesy of Dan Smith and Susan K.

More photos and details below.

Claire Hilton, the chameleon, talks to Janemarie Laucella, the iguana.

Amanda Mansfield makes a fantastic, and grumpy, turtle.

Neil David Siebel and Stephen Baltz as our two bumbling criminals.

We move toward the climactic scene.

MY OVERNIGHT SENSATIONS HISTORY:

2007: “Stuck on You,” a farce about a glue gun gone bad at a prom.
2010: “A Vampire Soap Opera,” which is pretty much what it sounds like.
2011: “Strong As a Bull,” a horror piece about steroids and baseball — in the 1800s.
2012: “The Keys To the Universe Next Door,” a science fiction horror story about a woman trapped in an alternative universe.
2016: “The Zookeeper’s Arm,” about a murder in the zoo.

More from 2017:

Preparation and such explained here.

Plus:
More photos of the whole process.
Rehearsal and production photos from the Hollins Playwright’s Lab
More photos from Dan Smith

Some of the responses I got:

“Your play was my favorite.”
— Celie H.

“Loved your piece.”
— Sherilyn L.

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