Behind the Scenes

_Here is a look at the 24 Hour Plays from three perspectives. Six writers, six directors, and 24 actors made Steinbach lobby their temporary home as they frantically wrote scripts, blocked scenes, and memorized lines. No one knew what to expect from this experience. _ **Writer** I have never pulled an all-nighter before. I was not sure if I was physically up for the task. Wondering what I had gotten myself into, I arrived at Steinbach Theater at nine p.m. on Friday night. After a briefing of the schedule for the next 24 hours, everyone left for the night, leaving six writers, three producers, and Mr. Efinger for the first leg of the theater marathon. Our shift extended from nine p.m. to six a.m., so, faced with an apparently infinite span of time, most of us spent the first hour-and-a-half procrastinating. I most enjoyed choosing the cast from the Polaroid pictures of the actors. We already had vague ideas of the plays we wanted to create, so, after we had assembled our cast, our brainstorms began to solidify. Then we were off. Keys clattered in sudden spatters of inspiration, followed by the silence of the dreaded writer’s block. Luckily, as I fluctuated from spans of dejected frustration to moments of inspiration, the producers stayed with me through it all. At six a.m. our scripts were printed, our casts assembled, and our work was done. As we leave the theater, we surveyed the mess we left. Bottles of Diet Coke, papers, props, wires, and wrappers were strewn among boxes of cold pizza. The directors arrived at seven a.m. -Kate Iannarone ’08 **Director** As a director, I’ve normally read the script dozens of times before first rehearsal. At The 24 Hour Plays, I had to forget about that. I was assigned the play “Why The Hell Are You In The Girls’ Bathroom, Perv?” written by Nat Lavin ’07. I only had ten minutes to read the play thoroughly and begin to come up with a set for the Girl’s bathroom of a typical high school. The actors arrived and we did a quick read-through. I had to try out multiple scenarios before figuring out what movement worked for each scene. By the late afternoon, I was exhausted. I had been on my feet all day. However, I still needed to finalize my costume and prop choices. The male actors in my show, Eli Grober ’08 and Eddie Diaz ’07, had to appear half naked on stage, which made finding costumes difficult. We had only twenty minutes of tech rehearsal and, as time was counting down, our tempers were wearing thin. We finally got through our rehearsal, just barely before the performance began. The show did go on, however, and all of the stress was definitely worth it. -Molly Shoemaker ’08 **Actor** Acting in one of last weekend’s 24 Hour Plays was not a simple undertaking. The producers warned of the grueling hours ahead, but by nine p.m. on Saturday night, our hard work paid off in an innovative and unique production – the first of its kind at Phillips Academy. Upon arriving in Steinbach lobby on Friday evening, we were accosted by producer James Flynn ’07, brandishing a Polaroid camera. He snapped our pictures, which we wrote our names on and turned into the writers. On Saturday morning, I was greeted at Steinbach by a catered breakfast buffet table. After a quick bite, I checked the theater callboard and found my Polaroid under the play ingeniously entitled, “Why the Hell Are You in the Girls’ Bathroom, Perv?” a play written by Nat Lavin ’07 and slated for direction by Molly Shoemaker ’08. The student-written plays ranged from hilarious to dramatic and the roles we played were created specifically for each one of us based on the Polaroids the playwrights received. Mr. Efinger and the producers came in periodically to watch our progress and offer helpful tips. Five tiring hours of acting later, we returned to Steinbach, where tech rehearsal commenced. As an actor, the 24-Hour Plays were extremely fulfilling in their almost instant gratification. It was refreshing to be able to finish a play within one day. The entire production went by like a whirlwind – after it was over, we hardly knew what had hit us. But we knew, exhausted as we were, that it had been incredible. -Annabel Graham ’08