Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Trainwreck 2009
Once again, no casualties

The Winchester Little Theatre Trainwreck 2009 pulled into the old depot right on schedule Saturday.

Once again my sister Ann and I participated as a directing/writing team. On the drive from my house in Round Hill to the theatre for the auditions I told Ann very truthfully that I had no, absolutely no idea what I would write. This was in part because the spirit of 24-hour theatre would dictate no advanced preparation: and in another part because I had spent the previous night with a toothache unmatched by anything in my experience. Sleepless and still in considerable pain throughout Friday I hadn't had one coherent thought about the upcoming show.

Following the post audition dickering Ann and I joined up with the following cast members:

Brittany Rathman, John Chesek, Theo Ollison, and Michael Cordero.

We had worked with Michael in last year's production. The other three were, I believe, total newcomers to the Winchester Littler Theatre world.

After abbreviated greetings and goodbyes we writers (myself and four others) were left to our devices (laptop computers and lots of donuts and cookies) to see what we could craft in the next twelve hours. My first attempt took me two hours to get just about nowhere. About 11 PM I scrapped that and started over.

Surrendering at last to my discomfort I let my toothache have its way and the result was "Four: A Play." In this absurd little three-act for four actors we watch the boundaries between imagination, rehearsal, stage and life wobble then shift, disappear and realign. Under it I hoped to point to an awareness of intentionality's source - the actor, the director, the author, as they represent the overlapping roles we play in our non-staged world.

As was the case last year, when the casts and directors returned to the theatre on Saturday morning the real magic began. Ann maneuvered my script and our actors into something that became worthy of presentation on a stage. Probably the biggest reason I went into this crazy endeavor again was to watch her do this, hoping to learn what goes on in such an amazing process. I don't think I learned much this time either. My awe at her ability, however, has grown.

Throughout the day Brittany, John, Theo and Michael came closer and closer to the Millie, Ed, Martin, and Bob my toothache channeled for me the night before. They all worked hard, for which I am very grateful. While writing is very much a part of my everyday life, acting is something that these four adventurers do only rarely. The dedication they poured into giving flesh and voice to my ideas makes me feel exceptionally fortunate.

Finally, at about 8:30 PM our little play took to an audience.

And ten minutes later is was all over. Except for the happy memories.

I want to thank Pat Markland and all of the rest at Winchester Little Theatre for opening their stage to our band of actors, directors and writers. There is also a debt of gratitude to be paid by mentioning the other writer/director pairs: Jessica Coleman & Becca Parker; Aaron Trompeter & Joey Thorne; Jerry Tracy & Roxie Orndorff; Jan Kirby & Paul Bailey. Without the commitment of these eight there would have been no place for the two Sackriders to do what we enjoy so much.

And of course, all of us are lucky to have found an audience still hungry for the excitement that live theatre provides as nothing else can.

During my participation in this event I learned something - in addition to the importance of flossing - that I'd like to share with you:

Whatever it might be, put something in your life through which you can find as much fulfillment, excitement and joy as we have found in our adventures in 24-hour theatre.

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