Play it 33 times fast:Fast-paced plays help send Cry of the Mountain to Edinburgh
BY ANDREW CEDERMARK
It was a big night. Bobo the Mime walked his invisible dog Pinky for the last time. Two dudes shared an emotional breakthrough while watching a football game on TV. A young widow paid an unpleasant visit to her former mother-in-law’s. A date between two puppies went south after it emerged one was not pure Beagle, as was earlier suggested.
Ray Nedzel directed a show called CrazyBusy—consisting of 33 plays in 55 minutes—last week, a fundraiser to bring Cry of the Mountain, Adelind Horan’s (pictured) one-woman show about mountaintop removal, to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe next month.
These were some of the shorts performed at CrazyBusy, a manic theater event hosted last weekend by Whole Theatre at Live Arts. In it, a team of 12 actors performed 33 original two-minute pieces over the course of less than an hour. The performances were a fundraiser for a batch of locals hoping to cover the considerable cost of staging Cry of the Mountain, Adelind Horan’s one-woman documentary play about mountaintop removal, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, next month in Scotland.
As director (and Cry of the Mountain producer) Ray Nedzel explained while introducing CrazyBusy, playwrights generally spend a lot of time writing, and then even more time fielding rejection letters. But in the spirit of the unjuried Edinburgh Fringe—which claims to be the largest arts fest in the world—Nedzel’s call for scripts was, “I don’t care what you write. We’ll do it.”
As must be the case in Edinburgh, you wouldn’t expect to see a string of 33 plays and have them all to be great. But because of its relentless pace, with one scene blending into the next, CrazyBusy remained exciting. For “Show Tunes Urinal,” written by the ensemble, local stage regular Nick Heiderstadt simply walked up to a urinal, unzipped and started singing “Jesus Christ Superstar.” It became an awkward moment as Napoleon Tavale ripped into an intense dramatic short called “Pelican,” by the local playwright Robert Wray.
We are still sorting through and ordering all of the plays that were submitted, but we can tell you, with full certainty, that the playwrights represented in this Crazy Busy Summer 2011 are some of the finest playwrights in Jefferson’s Virginia.
Rock on and read this list of scriptwriting gorgeousness:
Mendy St. Ours
Ray Nedzel (what? how’d he get a play in the mix?)
I’d like for the monologues and plays to be written and re-written (if not re-re-written) before the submission.
Then Robert Wray, Peter Gunter, Elizabeth Fuller, Denise Stewart and I will compile the show from the submissions.
I will gather an ensemble cast do all the parts in all 33 peices.
This will be performed at Live Arts as a companion piece to Addie Horan’s Cry of the Mountain.
I will direct the show, and will gladly take the help of fellow directors to work on 4-6 pieces each. Let me know if interested.
Performance dates: June 24th and 25th; Live Arts, Upstage.
You, if you write, will get a free ticket to the show.
We may (likely will) ask for rewrites along the way, but naturally you will remain the final say on the text and the owner/copyright owner of the script. We will use parts, segments and even whole plays as clips and advertising.
I have seen in very short plays – a one shot gimmick. That’s OK, but I say, try not to rely on the gimmick. Raise the stakes, raise the comedy, rewrite the entire script. Have someone read it back to you. Why here, why now? I’m not fully sure what the outcome will be but I’d like it to be fun and funny and awesome and reveling and real.