24 Hour Plays in Minneapolis
6 Plays, 29 Actors, 24 Hours
“What you’re about to experience didn’t exist 24 hours ago…” Directed by Minnesota-native Mark Armstrong, The 24 Hour Plays is a festival put on around the world to create time-limited theatre. Hennepin Theatre Trust and the University of Minnesota-Duluth came together to make it happen in Minneapolis. Writers, actors, directors, and stage managers showed up at 10:00pm on Sunday night to commence. Each actor brought a different prop and costume to give the writers inspiration. The six writers then stayed up all night to each write a 10-minute show. The actors returned on Monday morning to find out which show they were cast in, and began rehearsing all day. It all smoothly came together on Monday night at 8:00pm, concluding the 24-hour time period. Here are each of the shows:
Written by Julia Jordan, this short play was extremely eloquent. It was about an awkward man who cannot get anyone to dance with him as he watches a couple waltzing on the street. He complains to a crotchety old man who eventually is forced to ask him to dance. It was both comedic and dramatic, and everyone could relate with one of the four characters.
This may have been the best of the six plays. It featured Tony Vierling, Ryan McCartan, Kim Kivens, Rachel Williams, and Reese Britts. This power-house cast, along with the brilliant writing from Harrison David Rivers, created a short, dramatic tale of a dad and husband who has been having affairs with men.
Nobody understood this one. Unfortunately, talented people like Timothy Busfield, Sally Wingert, and Peter Rothstein did not come together with the right chemistry, and it was evident on stage. The plot was confusing, especially when they broke the fourth wall. Sally Wingert played a house-owner being robbed, but it ended up being a production within a production? It was confusing.
John Lynn and Christina Ham created a powerful story of a military family in 24 hours. Sometimes it seems more simple to go for a comedic play, given these circumstances, but it is nice to see effort put into an emotional story. It is difficult to be accurate with touchy subjects, but Michelle Barber, Devin Kelley, Michael Brindisi, Nicholas Freeman, and Ricardo Vazquez brought it to life.
Unfortunately, Tyler Michaels was not put into a great role. He played an overdramatic, young, hungry artist in a small art museum. Melissa Gilbert, former Little House on the Prairie star, saved the day as the tour guide of the art museum, torn between love and money.
The Family Blank
This confusing show was sort of a mixture of Gypsy and Cabaret. However, it ended with the “Blank” family of five being assassinated while on stage. The audience was unsure of whether this was comedic or not, creating an awkward feeling to close out the show.
David Darrow carried the show with his guitar-playing and singing. He provided accompaniment for each play, along with musical interludes to open and close the show. He was fantastic in gluing the show together in such a short amount of time, with the help of other Minnesota musical guests.