The 24-hour theater experiment put on by H.A.L. Publishing and Shanghai Repertory Theater at the Ke Center for Contemporary Arts was a grinding test of endurance, with a variety of results on the evening.
20 strangers divided into four casts to perform short one-act pieces that were conceived with the help of H.A.L. writing coaches and polished with expertise from the SRT team, a mere day after the actors met each other for the first time on Saturday night.
As the evening wore on and actors took to sleeping on the Ke Center’s sofas, creative differences and unvoiced tension in several groups threatened to make the Sunday night performance a disaster of unpalatable theater.
However, like they often do, things fell into place and no forgotten lines or major gaffes occurred during the performances, with adrenaline and dangerous amounts of coffee aiding the process throughout.
The winner of the Audience Award and Judges’ Award for best play both went to Team HALP, who managed to produce a higher level of theater craft than the other groups with their telling of the chance meetings between two strangers who met on the internet. The play consisted of four actors working in tandem to portray two individuals, with one actor performing portraying a character using mostly physical movements and expressions, while another actor hovered behind and spoke as the internal monologue of the same character.
Drew Fralick won Best Actor for his portrayal of a single-shoe wearing suicidally depressive man-child, and Phillipa Crouch took home the Best Actress bottle of wine and restaurant vouchers for her turn as the neurotic inner voice of a lovelorn office lady.
And there are of course more events going on throughout the week, including tonight’s performance of Beckett’s Catastrophe, along with two other plays written by SRT-affiliated playwrights at the Ke Center (100RMB).