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52 Pickup: '24' Theatre Fest to Create 7 Plays in a Day

by Michael Cohn-Geltner

Fringe Fest may have tested the amount of theatre one can see in a day, but a new Festival is testing how much theatre one can make. This Friday, 52 people will have 24 hours to create seven plays that will play back-to-back Saturday evening.  Since the concept has been around since the mid-90’s, it’s unclear if this will be the first “24” festival to take place in New Orleans, but it’s the first in recent memory. It will be an opportunity for all NOLA theater artists to come together and unleash their creativity, not to mention create their own piece of finished work.


The concept was born at Bard College, where Skin Horse Theater was founded.  At the end of every semester the school hosted a “24,.”


“Everyone just kicked off their shoes and had a good time,” Anna Henschel, one of the organizers explained via email.  Most of folks at the Bard "24" knew each other.


This New Orleans “24” is a horse of a different color.  Since it’s open to the entire city regardless of theater experience, many people will be meeting for the first time.  Bringing folks together is one of the purposes of the event, explained Evan Spigelman, another organizer.


“We hope ‘24’ can be an opportunity for theater artists of all experience levels to get together in a room and share in what we believe makes the New Orleans theater scene special: the community,” he said.


On Friday, all of the participants will gather and brainstorm ideas.  Anyone will be able to put their ideas into a hat and the group will vote on their favorites, “The whole event is very scheduled and organized, to allow for complete creative freedom,” said Ann.  After all the finalists are chosen, the directors and actors will be sent off to bed. The seven writers, in the meantime, will be tasked with producing a magnum opus.


The next morning, the seven directors and 38 actors will discover which randomly assigned play they will direct or perform in.  While they practice, a tireless team of techies will construct the sets.  At 8:00 p.m., the festival begins.


To add another dollop of unpredictably into the mix, the all-female improv group CLAWS WITH FANGS will host the evening. They will introduce each play, and according to Evan they have “a brilliant concept that is going to keep us laughing all throughout the night.”


Skin Horse aims for “24” to be an annual New Orleans event, “With the amount of creativity that New Orleans is constantly bursting with, we felt '24' would be a great addition to the theatrical calendar,” said Evan.


On Saturday night, the festival costs $12 and has an expected run-time of around three hours.  For those that want to see what the most adventurous theater artists in New Orleans will concoct when trapped together for 24 hours, check out the AllWays Lounge this Saturday night. 

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Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde


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Michael Weber, B.A.


Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

Alexis Manrodt

B. E. Mintz

Stephen Babcock

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