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The Stage


Dreamwell Theatre and City Circle Acting Company's 24-Hour Play Festival in review.


rom Broadway to Boise, all new plays face the same obstacles. The writer agonizes over when the play is finally complete. The director struggles to combine the writer’s intent with their own artistic vision. The actors breathe life into characters that have only been words on the page. In the Fifth Annual All-In-A-Day Play Festival, a joint effort between Dreamwell Theatre and City Circle Acting Company of Coralville, all of the artists agree to face these obstacles at lightning speed. They must write, rehearse and perform a 10-minute play in 24 hours. On August 31, the writers, directors, and 35 actors were randomly assigned into seven teams. Each team had to incorporate three elements into their play: a genre. a setting, and a dramatic trope. These elements were also assigned randomly, leaving the artists without the safety of working with familiar partnerships or subject matter. The writers had a deadline of 8 a.m. on Sept. 1 to finish a script, which they handed off to the directors and actors for rehearsal. After the performances, the plays received awards given by a judging panel that included Dreamwell founder Matt Falduto, former City Circle president Chris Okiishi and Mayor Jim Fawcett of Coralville.

Directed by Ron Clark

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26 Sept. 19-Oct. 3 2012 | Little Village

The only consistent element in all the plays is, indeed, randomness. The commitment to leaving every element of the plays up to chance brings to mind the work of Dada, an avant-garde art movement that swept Europe from 1916 to 1924. According to the movement, the universe is a series of coincidences. As a protest against artistic conformity, artists would create works based on unplanned combinations, such as a collage of unrelated pictures. They would then see how audiences attempted to find meaning in these coincidental combinations. While the seven plays in the festival did not completely embrace a Dadaist aesthetic—after all, they still had linear plots—they reflected the human desire to find meaning in our given circumstances, even when they do not make sense. They took on the challenge of creating plays in which the wildly different elements come together organically. (Teams might not always succeed in this task. When I participated in a similar 24-hour play festival during college at Indiana University, one team realized at the literal 11th hour that they had forgotten to include all three elements. They

True West

By Sam Shepard

September 7 - 30, 2012

ended their play with a conga-line dance and chant of the missing elements.) “The Worst Slumber Party in the West,” the first play on the program, was an example of how random chance can be interpreted by one

om ess. person. Audience members likely have a clear picture come to mind when they see the words “Western” and “slumber party” in the program. Writer James Trainor, however, decided to go in a different direction, turning the play into a coming-of-age story about a preteen girl who moves to Nevada with her single father and tries to make friends by throwing a Westernthemed slumber party. “Seizing Decisions,” was the result of drawing “melodrama,” “mineshaft” and “interrupted suicide.” While working on a high school

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Little Village Magazine - Issue 118 - Sept. 19 - Oct. 3, 2012  

Little Village | Iowa City's News and Culture Magazine

Little Village Magazine - Issue 118 - Sept. 19 - Oct. 3, 2012  

Little Village | Iowa City's News and Culture Magazine