Sunday, July 15, 2018

Come tonight to see the play I haven't written yet

Today I am participating in another one-day Cafe Play festival at the Ruskin Theatre in Santa Monica.  At 9:00 five half-asleep playwrights will be given a topic and assigned two actors and will have 3 1/2 hours to write a ten minute play on that topic all set in a cafe.  Actors and directors (hopefully more awake) then spend the afternoon blocking, rehearsing, and memorizing and at 7:30 and 9:00 PM they perform the show.  This will be my seventh time.  One of the other playwrights, Keith Sumrall, is writing his 49th. 

This has been a great exercise for me for several reasons.  I get to skip my gym appointment for one.  But I'm the kind of writer who really likes to plan everything out first.  And you can't in this instance.  I have to come up with an idea and just go.  And what often happens is that I veer off into interesting directions I would not have gone in normally.   It's scary yes, but also kind of exciting.   Writing out of your comfort zone always is a good thing. 

So come tonight and see how we all do.  There's always a certain charge of electricity because no one really knows what's going to happen.  But that's the fun part. 

Also, I'm continually amazed at how good the plays tend to be and how terrific the acting is -- all without the luxury of weeks of rehearsal and rewrites.  You're watching talent, instinct, and pure adrenaline.  If you're interested in joining us, here's where you go.  Warning: the 7:30 show sells out quickly. 

Wish me luck. 


Wendy M. Grossman said...

Hope it goes well.

A number of my friends are talking about Hannah Gadsby's Netflix special, NANETTE, which I guess is a recent release. Would love to hear your thoughts, if you've seen it.


Dhruv said...

Good Luck :)

Janet Ybarra said...

Break a leg! :) Would it be possible for you to record it and post it here later for those of us not blessed to live in the Los Angeles area?

Colin Stratton said...

Good luck! And for God's sake, if they give you anything related to Star Wars, Marvel Comics, or Jurassic Park, tell them to kiss your ass and walk away!

Mibbitmaker said...

There's something somewhat similar in the comics world called 24 Hour Comics, where a creator has 24 hours to complete a 24 page story. In these, the creator has more time to do this than the playwriting/performing events, but lack of sleep figures far more prominently. There have been (not sure if there still are) 24 Hour Comics events, usually held in comic shops annually from noon Saturday till noon Sunday (or sooner for writer-artists finishing early).

I'd taken part in those at my area's comic store for a few years until I didn't want to lack the sleep anymore, just before the comic shop stopped doing them, and later just stopped, period. Admittedly, I did take a break to come home to see SNL and take a brief nap (though one ended up being 5 hours!) before returning to continue. They would offer subjects to draw about, but you could choose your own, which I did. And I didn't always make 24 pages, though always a finished story. Aside from my first attempt, I'm pleased with the results, more or less (the occasional shortcut notwithstanding).

blinky said...

As a video editor/motion graphics guy I have similar experiences when a client shows up with a list of bullet points and says I need an inspirational wow video to introduce the CEO at a very important meeting.. I don't have any music, video or graphics for you and it has to be done tomorrow. They go to lunch and I get busy. Here is one I did that turned out well. on Sustainability video.
You are right, it is a total rush and when it work you are a hero

Mike Bloodworth said...

I'm just bored enough that I just might do that.

Peter said...

Break a leg, Ken! Wish I could be there!

On a different topic, I hope you'll be reviewing Sacha Baron Cohen's new show, Who is America. You guys get it tonight. We in the UK get it tomorrow night. He's upset Sarah Palin, so we already know it's good.

Janet Ybarra said...

Hey Ken, so do tell...what did you end up writing about for this? Did it go well?

By Ken Levine said...


My post tomorrow is on the play I wrote Sunday.

Janet Ybarra said...

Looking forward to it! You weren't able to record it were you?