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Friday 30 November 2007

24 Hour Plays Is A Komedia Sell-Out!

The 24 Hour Plays, inspired by the Old Vic's "New Voices' project, made an inspiring and creative impact at Komedia
Kevin Spacey Inspired Night Of New Theatre

Tense producers fearing a low turnout need not have worried as the studio theatre filled with eager audience members with many turned away as the venue became sold out.

Essentially, six teams comprising of a writer, a director and two to five actors are given twenty-four hours to write, create and then present a short finished work to the public.

Inspired by the 24 Hour Company in the US the idea for the project was brought to the UK by Kevin Spacey and the Old Vic Theatre in London.

Writers work all night to produce a finished piece of work by 7 o'clock in the morning, directors then pickup the scripts and a list of actors (chosen by the writers from photographs) for production that evening.

All plays are only supposed to last for about ten minutes.


The six entertaining plays, that each fully deserve a mention, were as follows:


The Creationists by Fiona Peek is an inspired and interesting post-modern style concept about the idea of creation in a ten minute slot, in this case the universe. Highlights were the writing itself and the acting of Ben Richardson.


Lobsters (A Perfect Day) by Joanna Pinto had Dali-esque symbols of dreams and lobsters in a surreal setting. Although the writing would have benefited from more overall cohesion and editing the idea itself was good. This kind of work is very hard to write.


Taken by Heather Rayment was a dark, tense and wonderfully claustrophobic piece of writing. Good direction and a dark and brooding performance by Danny Alder gave the work a feeling of Pinter or Anthony Burgess. This could easily be extended into an interesting longer work. Great intense writing meant that every word was, and thus felt, very carefully chosen.


The Secret of a Joke by Guy Picot was the show stealer. Very funny and yet somehow still quite dark, this is an astonishingly accomplished work. What it achieves in the time allotted points to a writer of skill and economy of words. The cross references between a comedian cracking jokes about his mad girlfriend, the girl herself and a third actor playing the both the 'madness' in her head and the "medication' used to supposedly solve the problem are superb. The girl is only free when she has removed both the problem and the "solution/ from her life. Deadpan Ollie Hester, Katie McGann and, for me, best actor of the night, Laura Corbett, were all a real treat.


Driftwood by Jamie Martin was an interesting exercise in times past and present put across together in parallel time. It is notable for its direction by Aine King and a good performance by Chris Harrison and Kieron James. An interesting story, it needed more time in honesty to develop the ideas more fully. I think it could work well as a short forty-or-so minute radio play with the voices interspersed to create more interesting comparisons between the parents and the children.


Say Goodbye by Helen Black was an ambitious idea based on a dialogue with those who have passed away. This idea would work far better as full blown work with more time for the development of characters (near impossible in very short works). The work was littered with great one liners, delivered particularly well by Emma Donaghy.


Theatre a dying art? I do not think so. Not with creativity and capacity audiences like this.

What a great shot in the arm these kinds of events are, and so much more exciting than some of the snoozy yawn-fests and pointless cash cow pap shows so often paraded before us as the only money making options the more traditional theatres have.

How many times have you seen queues and sold out notices at these events and venues recently?


Great stuff, more please!


The next of these events will be in February or March next year, if you missed this one and fancy going, you had better get there early as this event is deservedly very popular and you will miss out.


by: Howard Young



Related links

Komedia The 24 Hour Plays

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