When someone asks, “Hey, want to stay up for 24 hours to write, produce, direct and rehearse a play?” the answer is usually somewhere along the lines of…no.
But not for the brave crew behind the making of Georgia State Perimeter College’s (GPC) third annual Plays in a Day at Clarkston Campus. They looked at this challenge with an unwavering gaze and took it on headstrong with a burning passion fueling them (which is pretty much necessary since they are willingly staying up for an entire day to make this happen, and make it good.)
The shoes can be filled by anyone, meaning that the acting, writing, producing and directing spots are not exclusive to GPC students. Theatre lovers ranging from high-school teachers to university alumni to aspiring actors from various institutes surfaced to showcase their talent.
The entire concept is just as it sounds: writers, directors, producers and actors come together to produce six plays, each lasting around ten minutes, to be written and executed within a 24-hour time frame. There is a method to the madness though!
Behind the scenes
Auditions for the plays start at 8 p.m. but they don’t hear back until 7 the next morning. A tight schedule for the entirety of the crew is set into motion after the actors leave the auditions that night starting with the writers and the birth of the plays.
Starting at 10 p.m. that night, the writers gather in a room and have until 6 a.m. to write and script the ten-minute play. Each year the writers are given a set of rules they must follow. This year the rules consisted of three things: the scene had to take place in a 24-hour diner, they had to incorporate a prop of their choice and they had to include Grub, the cook, in the scene.
“I’ve been writing for Plays in a Day for three years. I think it’s impossible to come into this blank, but the set of rules and the prompt really pushes all of that out and you end up creating something completely new, something you hadn’t even thought of yet,” said Jillian Haughey, a Georgia Perimeter College alumni.
The overnight haul can be exhausting but Haughey gave some pertinent advice to future writers, “Go for it. My first year I was horrified but you can’t let yourself get in your head. It’s a new and exciting experience every time. I would rather fail and have done it than not have a story to tell.”
Once 6 a.m. rolls around the writers leave and the directors come in at 6:45 a.m. The casting calls are made and rehearsal starts at 9 a.m. at the latest. The actors are asked to have a casual and formal outfit ready to bring with them.
Dejaun Gayle, a previous actor at Perimeter College, said, “Overall, the atmosphere has cultivated a lot of skills and strategies that I hadn’t accessed in a while. Getting the script today and the blocking has helped me with me reaction times and the people are amazingly talented here.”
The acting crew breaks for lunch at noon and then the tech crew comes in. From 5-6 p.m. everyone involved does a run through of the entire show and then they break again for dinner.
Then at 8 p.m., it’s on to the stage for the actors and into the seats for the audience!
Lights, curtain, action!
Six plays, six writers, six directors, 17 actors, one diner, one chef, one hour and a whole lot of spirit.
The creativity behind the idea of Plays in a Day was showcased in a way which should make all the hard work worth it and makers behind it proud. Each writer took on a different set of real-life situations mixed with late-night ideas and turned them into a play worthy of all the talent that brought the words to life.
Matched, written by Amaris Ramey and directed by Aeisha Lanier, portrayed the quirks and awkwardness of online dating in a relatable yet entertaining way. Actors Kate Wilder and Philip Noble brought the uncomfortableness to the stage and left the audience saying, “Aww.”
Funny, punny and light-hearted Fishtale, written by Terry Fye and directed by Dave Di Petro, had the audience booming with laughter as actor Daniel Moody took the stage as the Prince of Atlantis.
The sit-com style play, Best Two Out of Three, written by Dakota Jay Maddox and directed by Taryn Carmona, wrapped up the show leaving the audience in a feel-good mood. The chemistry and comfortability between actors Kiara Rentas and Dejuan Gayle was undeniable and extremely convincing, especially when she finds out she’s pregnant!
Dinerama, written by Bradley Phillips and directed by Kate Graham, Writer’s Block, written by Marisa Trammell and directed by Justin Beaudrot, and First Dance, written by Jillian Haughey and directed by Parris Sarter tied the whole play together nicely and left the audience wanting more from each of these talented individuals.
A round of applause to the writers, producers, directors, the cast, the crew, and everyone involved in the making of this play. Clarkston drama club worked hard to give the audience quite a show and an experience—they even had their own Snapchat filter!
At the moment, Plays in a Day is Clarkston Campus’ only production that is solely a fundraiser for the Clarkston drama club. The play itself is free, but donations are graciously accepted! It is also the only production that the drama club puts on themselves, the rest are put together by the Theatre Department.
“Definitely don’t sleep on the fine arts culture that exists in Dekalb County and the surrounding areas. Just because you can’t get a ticket to the Fox Theatre doesn’t mean you can’t see quality work done by people that really love this business with their whole soul,” said Gayle.
In case you missed the play, here are a few other events over at Clarkston that you won’t want to miss out on!
William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”
October 20, 21, 29 & 30: 8 p.m.
October 22 & 29: 3 p.m.
Tickets: $15. (GSU ID:$5; Perimeter Students: Free with ID)
Art Gallery Shows:
Micah Gougan, paintings
Fine Arts Gallery
Now – September 28
Kathleen Carter, paintings
4th Floor JCLRC Gallery (Clarkston Library)
Now – September 28
Concerts and Opera:
Peach State Opera presents Rossini’s “Cinderella”
September 10: 3 p.m.
Tickets: $22 | Seniors $20 | GSU-ID holders $5 | Other schools $10
Student Vocal Recital featuring Perimeter College vocal music students
November 1: 1 p.m.