Posts Tagged mill mountain theatre

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:

Read the rest of this entry »


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Video: Overnight Sensations 24-hour play project

For the fourth time in sixth years, I’ll be one of the writers in “Overnight Sensations,” the 24-hour play project organized by the Hollins University playwriting program in conjunction with Mill Mountain Theatre.

In previous years, I’ve written these scripts:
*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.

Here’s a video from last year’s ceremonies — that’s me in the funny hat. Most of the footage is from when we drew casts, themes, genres and so forth from a hat (not mine!)

I also have some still photos from the 2010 event (which produced “A Vampire Soap Opera”) here.

Finally, arts writer Mike Allen of The Roanoke Times has more about this year’s Overnight Sensations on his Arts & Extras blog.

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“Strong As A Bull” at Mill Mountain Theatre, Roanoke, Va.

In front: Martha Boswell (left), Shay Mullins (center) and Rebecca Osborne (right.) In back: Mike Allen, Wendy-Marie Foerster, Kevin McAlexander, Kyle Mason, Dwayne Yancey. Photo by Deborah Seagle.

For the third time in about five years, I was invited to be one of the playwrights in the 24-hour play challenge at Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke, Va. (The “Overnight Sensations” program is coordinated through the MFA playwriting program at Hollins University, and draws from many of its students.)

On a Friday evening in July, all the participants gathered for a reception in the lobby and, after some ceremonies, the drawing begins. First, each of the writers draws a director from a hat. I drew Rebecca Osborne of Texas, one of the Hollins students. She drew a pre-selected cast. Then we drew a genre (I got “horror”), a location (I got “cemetery”) and a theme (I’m momentarily forgetting what mine was; I think it was “slow but steady wins the race” but maybe that was another year.”)

At that point, the writers withdrew to the library at Hollins to begin writing; by the next morning, we had to have a 10-minute script turned in. The cast showed up at noon, rehearsed all afternoon, and on Saturday night, six new shows were produced on the main stage at Mill Mountain Theatre.

With horror and a cemetery, everyone was expecting me to produce something about vampires or zombies or such. Instead, I surprised them with dark piece about baseball and steroids — in the 19th century.

The basic plot of “Strong As A Bull”: A mining company fields a baseball team (they really did that back then.) But when one player’s performance declines, the boss threatens to send him back to the mines. Rather than face a fate underground, the player tries a magic elixir from a travelling medicine man — which makes him strong as a bull. In fact, it starts to turn him into an actual bull.

You can find more photos from the event here.

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“A Vampire Soap Opera” at Mill Mountain Theatre, Roanoke, Va.

Chad Runyon as a werewolf and Gina Laguzza as a vampire in "A Vampire Soap Opera"

In a previous post, I described the writing process for the 24-hour play project at Mill Mountain Theatre in July 2010. Here are photos from my show, “A Vampire Soap Opera: The Old and the Restless.”

A soap opera about vampires, complete with laundry detergent commercials. A teen-age vampire runs away to Las Vegas; her governess finds her – but so does a vampire hunter. What will happen next? Tune in next time!

It’s a ten-minute script.

Another photo: Read the rest of this entry »

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The 24-hour play project at Mill Mountain Theatre, Roanoke, Va.

I always wear my jester's cap when I take part in the 24-hour play project. Here I am writing away in the Hollins University library.

In July 2010, I was invited — for the second time — to be one of the writers in the 24-hour play project at Mill Mountain Theatre.

We gathered on a Friday night. The writers drew a director from the hat. The directors drew a cast. Then we drew theme, setting and genre.

I drew “soap opera,” “cocktail lounge” and “slow but steady wins the race.”

Then the writer writes overnight, the director rehearses the cast the next day and the night we hit the stage with a series of 10-minute scripts.

My result: “A Vampire Soap Opera: The Old and the Restless.”

Here are some of the photos of the event. Read the rest of this entry »

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Backstage at “Spitfire Grill,” Mill Mountain Theatre

That’s me with Natalie Newman, a very talented actress who had the lead role of Percy Sutton in the Mill Mountain Theatre production of “Spitfire Grill” in October 2008.

This is just clowning around for the camera.

I believe Ann Karner — who played Effie — took the photo.

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The role of The Visitor in “Spitfire Grill” at Mill Mountain Theatre, October 2008

Natalie Newman and Dwayne Yancey as the sun comes up. Photo by Ayme Gierchak

I have never counted myself an actor.

So I was shocked when, in the fall of 2008, the artistic director at Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke, Va. called me to ask if I’d play a non-speaking part in the upcoming production of “Spitfire Grill.”

Sure, I’d be honored.

What I didn’t realize was this was a BIG non-speaking part — that of “The Visitor,” the long-lost son of the grill’s owner who went AWOL during Vietnam and has been living in the woods ever since.

There were actions to learn! Heck, I even had to learn to enter on a musical cue.


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