In a cozy, secluded corner of Fullerton, California, a group of writers will sit at 6 AM to finish writing their individual, yet still strikingly similar, collection of plays that will be performed that evening. They had met together, in the dark of 11PM to begin, and at last, the fruits of their labors will be seen on stage in less than 24 hours. It's not as odd as it sounds, really, it is just The Hunger Artists Theatre's annual 24 Hour Theatre Event.
It's a pretty simple set-up. Five writers arrive at 11 PM on June 4th to compose a ten minute play. At 8 AM the next morning (when the writers are all sleep-deprived and craving caffeine) the directors walk in to read these ten minute shorts, and quickly cast them by 10 AM with actors that will arrive at 9 AM.
"From there," said managing director Anthony Galleran, "the directors and actors rehearse all day - learning lines, blocking, scrounging for props and costumes, etc. By 11pm that night, 5 brand new plays that did not exist 24 Hours earlier are performed in front of a live audience."
Getting a show created and running in 24 hours has proven to be challenging, but that doesn't stop The Hunger Artists Theatre from making it happen every year. "No one else in the area had done anything like it and we had no idea if anyone would come and we mostly wanted to see if we could pull it off," said Galleran. "It was a chance for us to be completely goofball and sleep deprived."
David Yu, literary manager and frequent actor of the Hunger Artist stage took part in 24 Hour Theatre last year by auditioning to act in one of the shorts. "I showed up when the actors were called which was about 10-11 am," said Yu. "It was kind of amazing and crazy being in a piece that was barely written that morning." Yu will be returning this year, but this time he will be wearing his director shoes.
To sign up to audition for an unforgettably unique 24 hour experience, visit www.hungerartists.com. The 24 Hour Theatre event will begin on June 4th at 11 PM and end at 11 PM June 5th when the plays are world premiered.