Alaina is a writer who lives in Phoenix. She is a proud feminist and likes to spend her spare time volunteering with women’s rights organizations, reading voraciously, and spending time with her loved ones.
The fluorescent yellow light of the acting studio at the Mesa Arts Center lights up the landing at the top of the stairs. Through the windows, you can see rows of people chatting and waiting for the meeting to begin. There is a flurry of activity near the door as performers, directors, and writers all check in. On the board, there is a schedule for the next twenty-four hours. It looks daunting. Outside of a brief flirtation with the idea of submitting a play to my university’s twenty-four hour theatre project, I’ve never been involved with an experience like this. I’m in awe of the fact that this is even possible.
Taylor and Tony have a way of putting people at ease. Their enthusiasm and wit bring levity to the meeting. This is the first time that everyone involved with the East Valley Overnight Theatre is in the same room. Some people are Laughing Pig veterans. For some, twenty-four hour theatre is old hat. There are a couple of us who are brand new to the experience. Something that I admire most about Taylor and Tony is the way they are able to build a supportive, caring community out of a room of people who have one overarching thing in common: a love of theatre. Their enthusiasm is contagious. Their deep, abiding love for theatre is palpable.
They make an intimidating schedule sound like a fun, easy walk in the park.
After a discussion surrounding the schedule and expectations, everyone participates in the performer raffle. It’s interesting to see the writers and performers come together. In order to ignite the creative process, the performers have brought in either costumes or props to (hopefully) inspire their writers. Each group immediately has a different atmosphere. Some debate the merits of certain items. Others are huddled around tables and locked into deep discussions of what they envision for their play.
Smiles and laughter permeate the acting studio. Everyone in this room is here because they love the work they’re about to do. The camaraderie that comes with knowing you’re surrounded by people of a like mind has already begun to bond everyone together. Everyone, performers, writers, and directors alike, is in this room tonight because they love giving their all to the theatre.
The writers leave fairly quickly. They each have about ten hours to produce a play and time is flitting away. Taylor reminds them of the second wind party at Denny’s should they need it. The big grin on her face belies her excitement at the possibility of this party. She’s anticipating the thrill she finds in being a sounding board for writers. It’s up to the writers, though, if they feel a need for her skills. Time will tell.
And time is ticking.