Tuesday night we gathered behind the Norton Center to begin our journey. My car (consisting of Will, Adam, and Dave Clark) jumped the gun and speeded ahead of the group, acting as scout, and calling the other cars to warn them of monsters, UFOs, a Big Otter, and other such dangers of West Virginia. We managed to grind out most of the trip and made it to Maryland to spend the first night. It was just a 2 hour jaunt to DC the next day ^_^. Anyway, we got to our hotels, got settled in, greeted Matthew and Jeff, registered, and...rested? Hardly. Part 1...
The first event of which I partook was this play festival. It consists of a group of students (or in Dave Clark's case, graduates) of playwrites, directors, actors, and stage managers. We met at 9:00 that night, the actors gave monologues, then most of the crew was sent home while the playwrites stayed there. This was impressive. The writers had from 9:00 that night to 7:00 the next morning to crank out a 10-minute play, ready to perform. Dave Clark and Brendan were the Centre kids in this crew. The actors had brought in an array of "interesting" props and costume pieces for the writers to use for inspiration and incorporation into their plays. This, along with ample supplies of Code Red, fueled them through the night's intense writing session.
7:30 the next morning, the Stage Managers (including Squirt and myself), and the Directors (including Eric) met to read the plays, pick which plays they were going to do (everyone got their first or second choice) and divy up the actors. Directors and Stage Managers were paired by drawing from a hat. Eric and Squirt got paired together by luck of the draw. I didn't end up working with anyone from Centre, but it was cool to work with new people.
After some scheduling and such, the actors filed in around noon, and were split up into their plays. Of the Centre kids, D Flo, Leigh, and Tater all participated (D Flo and Leigh both got picked for the play Dave wrote, and Tater got picked for the play Eric was directing). We then gave the actors their scripts, and began cranking out rehearsals. We had 9 hours before the plays would go up.
The rehearsal process was really fun. I was really impressed by how quickly the actors were off-book, and my director was very involved and had great blocking ideas. We quickly gathered the props we needed from the pile the actors had brought in, and borrowed an ironing board from the hotel. My organizational skills as stage manager were much appreciated, which made me feel really nice ^_^ Having only 9 hours to work an entire play, there was lots of time budgeting to do and problems to solve.
At 9:30 that night, we were on call and ready to go. Our play went first, which was nice, because I got to stay out and watch all the other plays (there were 6 plays total). The play that Brendan wrote was wonderfully clever and took a bit of a more serious dive than what he normally does. I was really impressed, he works words like magic.
Dave Clark never ceases to amaze me with his enigmatic writing skills. His play was...completely psycho, but it worked! I'm glad D Flo and Leigh got to be in his play, they really brought it to life.
Eric did a great job directing his play, and Tater was awesome. She had to play two characters, and distinguished them wonderfully. I already know how great Squirt is as a stage manager, so I'm confident she was a necessary asset ^_^
Anyway, the audience just ate the whole thing up. Everyone was so impressed (as well they should have been!) and everyone enjoyed themselves. After the performances there was a critique, and the panel members had great things to say about everyone's stuff. They also had great ideas and suggestions for the playwrites to flesh out their work. I know Brendan plans on having his play performed here at Centre again, and maybe Dave Clark also. After the incredible performances at the short play festival, I can't wait to see what comes out of an extended rehearsal period ^_^