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12 posts from October 2009

October 12, 2009

At hour 21, excitement and exhaustion

Naked Stage's third annual 24-Hour Theatre project is unfolding exactly the way you'd imagine, as technical rehearsals for tonight's 8 p.m. benefit performance at Actors' Playhouse get under way.  Which is to say that everyone -- especially Naked Stage's Antonio Amadeo, Katherine Amadeo and John Manzelli, plus all eight playwrights -- is pretty much fried after going for 30-plus hours without sleep.  And everyone is also stoked for tonight's show.

Antonio Amadeo, the producer and go-to guy for any big problem, looks uncommonly perky as he peruses boxes of costumes, props and wigs assembled by Ellis Tillman.  Or maybe he just has this smiling, zen-like way of handling exhaustion.

Playwright Andrew Rosendorf, whose Haunted is (according to everyone who offered an opinion on the subject) this year's most serious/dark play, is 28 and despite not having slept since 9 a.m. Sunday, he ducked out to teach play-writing to 13 high school seniors at the New World School of the Arts early this afternoon.

"They told me I've never been this funny," he says, sounding coherent despite mangling a word or two.

Working with director Hugh Murphy, Rosendorf kept refining the play through the morning, until one of his four cast members, Adam Simpson, found his one-word part "refined" out of the play.

"I feel bad, but he was nice about it," Rosendorf says.

Most of the actors, a Who's Who of South Florida stage talent, confessed that even though they didn't have to show up at Actors' Playhouse 'til 7 this morning, they had trouble sleeping Sunday night, either from excitement or because they knew they had to be at Actors' at such an ungodly hour.

"I just came off an eight-show week doing The Glass Menagerie [at Broward Stage Door Theatre], so I got about three hours' sleep before I had to get up to come here," says Nick Duckart, who's in Rosendorf's play.  "I'm working on pure adrenalin."

Actors' executive director Barbara Stein, who donated use of the theater to the 24-Hour benefit for the second year in a row, says she's supportive of a project that uses such an array of South Florida talent.

"It's like kids in a candy store, watching everyone work," Stein says.  "It's giddy, it's fun, it's serious."

You can still see the results of all this concentrated creativity for yourself.  One of two kick-off events for this year's South Florida Theatre Festival, the 24-Hour Theatre Project is taking place in the large main stage theater at Actors' Playhouse, 280 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, starting at 8 p.m.  Tickets are $25.  Call 305-444-9293 or visit the Actors' web site to get your seat.

The clock is ticking

24 Hour Jpeg ActorsThe playwrights finished, exhilarated and bleary-eyed, sometime in the wee hours this morning. Just a little over an hour ago, 31 actors, eight directors and 10 stage managers gathered for a first read-through of the hot-from-the-laptop plays that will occupy their efforts and imaginations during an intense 13-hour rehearsal period.  And at 8 tonight, the Naked Stage's third annual 24-Hour Theatre Project gets its one and only performance at Actors' Playhouse in Coral Gables.

If you have a ticket -- or still want to get one -- here's the rundown on what you'll be seeing.  All titles were chosen from a list devised by Katherine Amadeo, Naked Stage's artistic director, and Antonio Amadeo, the company's producer and 24-Hour's artistic director.

Andie Arthur's piece, Abacus Jones: Boy Detective, features actors Irene Adjan, Stephen G. Anthony, David Perez-Ribada and Tom Wahl, with Stuart Meltzer (fresh from staging The Threepenny Opera at New World School of the Arts) directing.  Anthony gamely agreed to join the cast late last night (he was already asleep when Antonio Amadeo called him) after another actor was unable to participate.

Juan C. Sanchez has written the provocative-sounding The Family Jewels.  Caldwell Theatre Company artistic director Clive Cholerton is directing Kathryn Lee Johnston, John Manzelli (the other Naked Stage honcho), Francisco "Pancho" Padura and Barry Tarallo in the play..Andrew Rosendorf's Haunted, directed by Barry University's Hugh Murphy, features Nick Duckart, Lela Elam, Maribeth Graham and Adam Simpson.

Second City veteran Mark Swaner's play, The Britneys, stars Lindsey Forgey, Carrie Santana and Barbara Sloan, and is being directed by Amy London.  Elena Maria Garcia's Deja Vu, Deja Vu,directed by The Promethean Theatre's Margaret M. Ledford, features Elizabeth Dimon, Avi Hoffman, Christopher A. Kent and Shane Tanner.

The Life and Death of Child Star Paulie Delucca, written by Christopher Demos-Brown and directed by New Theatre artistic director Ricky J. Martinez, stars Michaela Cronan, Betsy Graver, Lisa Manuli and Deborah L. Sherman.  Michael McKeever's bluntly titled F*ck the PTA, features Katherine Amadeo, Tracey Barrow-Schoenblatt, Cliff Burgess and Ricky Waugh, and is directed by Andy Quiroga.  And Lucas Leyva's The Purloined Sweater, directed by Todd Allen Durkin, stars Barbara Bradshaw, Ken Clement, Sandy Ives and Laura Turnbull.

This year's 24-Hour Theatre Project is one of two kickoff events for the South Florida Theatre Festival (the other is Florida Stage's staged reading of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, also at 8 tonight, at the company's theater in Manalapan).  Ticket prices to the 24-Hour event have dropped to $25 (last year, they cost $58), and you can still get good seats by calling 305-444-9293 or visiting the Actors' Playhouse web site.  Or just show up at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, for a chance to savor the yearly miracle of almost-instant theater.