Apr 23, 2013

ODO! XX follow-up

As I wrote before, I did Rover Dramawerk's One Day Only! XX 24 -Hour Play event last weekend. I had mixed feelings about the project given my history with the One Day Only! format. I won't go into serious detail about a lot of my reservations about the event. Though I discovered some wonderful stream-linings to the format by Rover, overall the experience left me cold and very artistically unsatisfied.

Let me 'splain....

On the plus side, the schedule, facilities and operations mostly went really smooth. The organizers had made some great strides over the years to make the whole thing a more well-oiled operation. From check-in to artist photos to intro games to an off-site rehearsal hall used by the playwrights for writing the pieces. Most of the participants seemed friendly and enthusiastic*. And I came out of the event with the foundations of a really fun one-act that I can use in other quarters.

On the not-so-plus side, the organizers were just a little too snarky. I remember them being a bit sacastic and chip-on-the-shoulder types the decade or so ago when I last worked with them, but there was a definite cynicism in the air. Don't get me wrong, I actually like all the people that organized the event. They are driven, capable and really decent, warm folks. Not bad theatre-makers, either. But my experience over the weekend was, I suppose, as an outsider showing up to a really "inside" group and being treated as... well, an outsider.

The general vibe was that they were doing the participants a favor by letting them be involved rather than the other way around. After all, this was a financially profitable affair for Rover. But none of the participants were paid at all. Besides the overall kinda superior attitude of the folks running the event, the biggest beef I have with ODO! XX was the production of my play.

I understood the nature of the event. But I didn't expect such a travesty. The director seemed to be doing the best he could and half of the actors were pretty good. the others were horrible. One lady, in particular, was deplorable. Listen, I hate to say it so bluntly and I seldom just straight out lay into a single person, but this lady... OMG! And she was playing the character with the best lines and funniest part. Complete waste. I was really really embarrassed by the whole thing.

Maybe the folks doing it didn't understand it. But I figured someone would have called if they had had questions. I also realize I don't write "easy" parts or "easy" scenes. The other plays that I saw were pretty standard community theatre style scenes... a suburban dinner party, a wacky customer service phone call, etc. Maybe they were more accessible. Not better, just easier.

My play took place after a plane crash. The survivors were on a life raft in the middle of the ocean. There was a mad scientist and three test subjects from his genetic experiments. I called it SHARK BITES AND SIDE EFFECTS.

I have progressed to a point that I need really capable comedic actors for my stuff. In fact, that might be the crux of the whole thing... I've grown past the ODO! format. It is a nice thing for people that are new to theatre or less experienced artists trying to build networks or practice. Over the last ten years I've become a professional. For me, at this personal point in my development as a theatre artist, it felt like a step backwards.

Jason Rice of Rover Dramawerks giving the schedule to the participants

The stage and what there was to work with at the Courtyard Theatre

Rover supplied laptops to help insure no one brought in any pre-made works

SHARK BITES AND SIDE EFFECTS in performance... doesn't look like a lifeboat.

The older lady with the best lines also was the one furthest from being off-book.

There was also a confusing use of props and costumes.
This guy was dressed like Gilligan for some reason.
And despite there being no mention of whales in the piece, an inflatable one made it's way into the show.

* some of the participants were openly prideful that they had done several ODOs before. I didn't tell anyone that I had started these over a decade ago and oversaw the first 4 of 'em. It was amusing. Jason Rice finally pointed me out to the participants with a weird sorta backhanded intro "This is Brad. He started these things. But we've made them better..." Truthful... yes. Tactful... no.

NOTE: (2/22/2017) I wandered onto the Rover Dramawerks website and found that they scan the actual playbills from these ODO events and was able to look up the director and cast. Here's who was in this. Direcor: Clint Prentice, Actors: Alasdair Seth, Jessica Smoot, Ryan Lakich and Carolyn Stalder. 

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