Last night I had the pleasure of being part of the audience for the 48 Hour Play Generator, part of Melbourne’s Emerging Writers’ Festival. Five emerging playwrights, working each with a director and four performers had 48 hours to conceive, write, rehearse and perform a play, based on a common stimulus.
Two people are beside an open grave. One is standing and the other is kneeling, both are peering intently into the grave. It is raining…
The 48 Hour Play Generator was described as raw – theatre on the cutting edge.
Friday night the Curator and Dramaturg of the 48 Hour Play Generator Ricci-Jane Adams commented every year there are doom and gloom predictions about the demise of the theatre (sounds a little like the debate which goes on regarding short stories every year) but countered saying as long as there were stories, and story tellers, the theatre would be alive and well.
Dialogue is one of my favourite areas of writing and I love the theatre, so I was excited and intrigued to see what could be produced in 48 hours.
The result: five very different stories, each incorporating the prompt in a unique fashion – everything from a disturbing photograph to a scriptwriter’s brainstorming session. Those who participate weekly in [Fiction] Friday would have really enjoyed it. There were singing henchmen in sleeping bags, a corrupt mayor, a baseball wielding husband, Debbie the girl everyone had a photo of each with lashings of humour… lots of darkness, social and political commentary, even a musical number. Performers who were on stage with scripts in hand could be forgiven, many having been handed the script for rehearsal that morning.
Events such as last night’s show the theatre is most definitely not on the way out and full of young creatives who aren’t afraid to push their own writing boundaries or that of their art form. The 48 hour Play Generator gave me a whole new appreciation of writing for performance, and theatre as a medium of story telling…especially when done on a time budget.
Do you regularly go to the theatre? Or read plays? What was the last play you saw/read? For those playwrights lurking – could you imagine taking part in something like this?