It is late Monday afternoon at the beautiful Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, though hardly anyone involved in the 24-Hour Theatre Project is in any shape to appreciate the glories of the historic hotel that is home to GableStage. Playwrights? Got little or no sleep, and they're hitting the wall. Directors? Still moving actors around, and hearing too many plaintive calls: "Line?" Actors? Well, for people who got a script at 7:30 a.m., learned lines (sometimes, lots of them, complicated ones too) and figured out how to move around the stage as they were delivering those lines, they're holding up pretty well. Director Paul Tei (seated) and playwright Michael McKeever can even laugh; McKeever's play is quite funny, but this is also the laughter of the sleep-deprived. (Photo by the Miami Herald's Carl Juste.)
Though Todd Allen Durkin says with a smile, "I only have one eye now." And Lisa Morgan, beaming, confides, "It's not too late to do The Cherry Orchard."
Everyone is bone-tired. But they're all still thrilled to be a part of a challenging, risky, inspiring benefit for four fine small South Florida theater companies. You sense, in their manic drive to the finish line -- the single performance of seven remarkably good short plays -- a kind of validation of the talent that has made this theater community grow and mature. And you suspect that, once the performance is over and everyone gets some sleep, they'll want to do it again next year.