So I have been gone for a while. I have missed the last two weeks of Monday Writes and that is a huge bummer, because my pledge of writing at least once a week didn’t work out. But if you really think about it I did a pretty good job and to do some 30 straight weeks of Monday Writes is pretty impressive in my eyes. I guess someone who writes for a living isn’t impressed but it’s not about them.
So to get back on the writing track I thought I’d sum up how I finished my 2 weeks away from the writing computer device.
This last weekend I participated in my 2nd 24 Hour Theatre Collective in Green Bay. The concept is pretty simple. In 24 hours you write, produce and act out a short play. Some people are there just to act, some people are there to just direct, some people are there to just write and some people; like myself; are there to do everything.
The first time I did this I only got 3 hours of sleep in a 44 hour time span. I had woken up at 7AM Friday, took a quick nap at 5 AM Saturday morning until 8 AM then had to be at the venue to start going over what I was going to direct, act in and what I had wrote. I was the only one to do all three things. And it started to show as the day progressed. I started to go a little crazy. It really showed in my tweets.
The play I wrote was about a microwave that no matter what you put in it would turn out tasting really good. It was a concept that I love working with: Take something that is very unassuming and not spectacular and make it the best thing in the world. If you want to see the whole play check out my video section.
This year I was determined to not go as crazy when performing. I wanted to write something, but maybe only act, and not really direct anything. That didn’t end up happening because we were a bit short on people for this adventure. So I actually ended up writing 1 play, acting in 2 and directing 1.
For my play I got 5 words to use as inspiration for my scene. I was also given two actors and a set number of pages I needed to write, which was just 4.
One of the words I got was moon.
A technique I learned from the UCB Improv Manual was the Cloverleaf Method, where you start with a word and then try to make A to C connections to ignite your brain into creating premises and ideas. Here was how my process went with the word moon.
Moon>Satellite>TV>Couch Potato>Recliner Fries>Love Seat Hash Browns>Vacuuming Crumbs>Missing Dining Room Table>Burglars>Hideout>Evasion>Moon Hideout> Get Away Rocket to the Moon
That last one is what I went with a short scene about a burglar with a bunch of money who’s getaway vehicle is a rocket ship, and their hideout is on the moon. Rocket launches are quite the process so just getting in a lifting off isn’t that easy. That lead to the major conflict of the scene, which I think turned out pretty good.
One of the scenes I got to act in was about a CEO of a company who was crazy and full of drugs. I got to play the guy on drugs. Many times when I have done plays or these theatre collectives I had always seen a role that I wanted to play, but someone else had gotten it. The whole time they are rehearsing I would think, “Oh, I would be playing this character just like this.”
Well, I finally got the one part that I wanted, and I knew how to play him. I took most of my inspiration from Douglas Denim from The IT Crowd. A brash, doesn’t care what he says just as long as he says it loud, guy. To convey my craziness even further I didn’t wear shoes at all during the scene, I was completely barefoot but wore suspenders and nice shirt, pants and tie to still give the impression of professionalism.
It was one of the most fun roles I’ve ever played.
The Theatre Collective was super fun and it’s amazing that we can pull something off like this. When we had finished our show on Saturday night 24 hours earlier none of the plays even existed. But anyone in the audience wouldn’t have been able to tell. The next one is in January and we’re already trying to find ways to make it even better than this one.