24 Hour Plays at the Abbey Theatre, Sun 28 Jan in aid of Dublin Youth Theatre.
Six short plays written, rehearsed and presented in just 24 hours in aid of Dublin Youth Theatre.
The 24 Hour Plays: Dublin in aid of Dublin Youth Theatre kicks off at the Meet and Greet. The writers and directors are paired up and briefed. Then the company assembles and each actor presents a prop, a costume, a special skill and something they have always wanted to do on stage but never have. (The writers and directors also add a prop and costume to the mix). All of this acts as inspiration for the writers (and maybe an indication to the directors of how far they can push their cast!!) It is a wonderful couple of hours packed with creative energy. Observing all of this are the technical departments: lighting, sound, stage management, costumes, and the assistant directors and production assistants, taking notes. It’s amazing to see what inspires the writers! All photos by Aoife Herrity, photographer.
My prop was a picture of myself age 6, dressed as an angel. My costume piece was an orange jacket. My skill was Mime (hoping to avoid a lengthy line learn) and my wish was to do a really good prat fall.
The actors went home and the writers set to work writing feverishly till 6am when scripts had to be printed. We met again in the Abbey at 8.15am and the cast and directors were announced, and we set off to our rehearsal room in the Lab F oley Street, scripts in hand. Mark Doherty, Susan Bracken, Pat McGrath and myself were ably directed by Susan Baxter, and our play was written by Orla McGovern. It turned out to be an extremely involved Film Noir detective story complete with detective, Russian tap-dancer, Maire the Mime, Ronnie Rooney the Ringmaster, Pete the Pecs muscle man, and a closing cast dance finale!!
We spent a feverish few hours figuring who murdered who, and who was secretly in love with the other, before the production crew landed into the room. We had half an hour with Bryan Burrows who advised us on face slaps and sudden death falls. We stopped for lunch and script learning. We had 20 minutes on the Abbey stage for a technical rehearsal. Then we retreated back to Foley Street to re-learn the lines (and yes I had plenty despite being Maire the Mime!) Run throughs then to try and hang the play together, and it was actually becoming more clear to our befuddled brains. The dance finale was pure relief and fun. At 6pm, we hauled ourselves back to the Abbey for a company photo shoot and then it was find a dressing room, put on a clean tee shirt, bit of slap, and nose in the script until we heard the first play being introduced. We were on third, so thankfully our ordeal would be over before the interval. A brief hug and on we marched, taking up our opening positions. Mark had offered clarinet playing as his skill and our opening image was wonderful with Susan donning her detective hat to the strains of the clarinet. All was going well till Mark gave a lash of his Ringmaster’s whip – crack the sound effect followed 5 seconds later. He tried again, and crack the same sound delay got a roar of approval from the audience. Then I announced that “a gun was found near the body.” Immediately I knew I had to correct it. “No. A hammer was found near the body.” Tarn. The audience again whooped encouragement! We made it unscathed to the dance number and the audience applauded their way through till we peeled our way into the wings.
It’s not for the faint-hearted, but it was a pleasure to be on the Abbey stage again, and a pleasure to see a full house and know that Dublin Youth Theatre will have funding for another year.
Publicity Profile on Twitter/Facebook to promote the event:
Rose has had her hand up to be an actor since age 2, and they’re finally letting her have a go. She worked in Children’s TV with Pajo’s Junkbox, Nighthawks, Father Ted, Fair City, and has written two plays Ruby Tuesday and Take Off Your Cornflakes with Pat Nolan. She is currently touring Boom by Isobel Mahon and Weighing In by Ger Gallagher.
Have you participated in The 24 Hour Plays in aid of Dublin Youth Theatre before? If yes what is your fondest/ most nightmare causing memories? If no what are you looking forward to/ terrified of?
No. It’s a bit like buying a ticket for the roller coaster and looking at all the loops from the ground. “Yes. This is going to be fun,” I say firmly, not convincing myself at all.
As a teenager what was your greatest interest?
Drama, singing and skipping (yeah, All Ireland Champ)
If you could work on any film or play with anyone living or dead what production and who would it be? Why?
I’d love to have worked with Lucille Ball, a sassy slapstick comic with impeccable timing who was also the first woman to head a major Hollywood studio. I want to be in that conveyor belt chocolate scene!
If you could time travel would you go forward or back and why?
Forward for sure. This is why I support Youth Theatre. I’m excited to see what’s ahead, what barriers come crashing down, what inventions are set to change our lives, and whether we ever get to figure out that love is the answer.