Dream team tackles 24-Hour Play Festival

For the News-DemocratNovember 21, 2013 

Theatre Lab founder Ryan Foizey wanted to form an army of artists to produce a 24-Hour Play Festival as a way to support his mission. He was thrilled by the quick response, with a "dream team" of 22 local actors, writers and directors now pouring creative energy into five short one-act plays that will mount on Saturday evening.

Showtime is 8 p.m. at Webster Groves High School, in the little theater.

All plays were written in seven days. The writers drew the size of their cast, their setting and a line that must be incorporated into the play out of a hat. On Friday, the directors and actors will meet. That's when the directors draw their script and performers out of a hat. From that point forward, each team has 24 hours to rehearse before performing them, memorized, for the public.

"I felt like it was a perfect way to epitomize Theatre Lab's mission: Gather some of the area's finest theatre talents to pool together and showcase what St. Louis talent has to offer. Not to mention the concept of having five performances for ten bucks rather than one makes for an exciting evening for a fundraiser," Foizey said.

Presented in coalition with Todd Schaefer's Players Project Theatre Company, the festival will raise funds for Theatre Lab's next full length production in August.

Participants include the following: Writers -- Deanna Jent, Zak Farmer, Spencer Green, Carl Wickman and Steve Peirick. Actors --Ben Nordstrom, Nick Kelly, John Sparger, Evan Kuhn, Ranjan Kahn and Carl Overly Jr. Actresses -- Sarah Porter, Marcy Wiegert, Blaire Hamilton, Rachel Hanks, Rachel Tibbetts and Sarajane Alverson. Directors -- Terry Meddows, Todd Schaefer, Michael Amoroso, Tom Lehmann and Christina Rios Kelley.

The talent ranges from Off-Broadway and NY Fringe writers to local high school students and local professionals from: Mustard Seed, New Line, Stages, The Rep, Improv Shop, Burlesque, Actor's Studio and other groups.

"The idea was to pull from all over the performance community; not just theatre. We have people ranging from radio talk show hosts and artistic directors to improv actors and burlesque performers. The people we chose are meant to celebrate St. Louis' s range and to celebrate the kind of support Theatre Lab has acquired from its acting community," Foizey said.

The judges are Scott Miller, artistic director of New Line Theatre, Judy Newmark of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Max Foizey, producer of The Dave Glover Show on 97.1 FM, and also host of weekly entertainment show 'Max on Movies" on the radio station.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door, online at http://24hourplayfest.brownpapertickets.com, or by clicking the link attached to their Facebook Page: WWW.facebook.com/TheatreLabSTL

"Theatre Lab aims to produce a certain level of ambition and passion through every one of our projects," Foizey said. The latest professional company made its St. Louis theatre debut last August with an intense, two-person show by Cormac McCarthy, "The Sunset Limited."

Foizey said there won't be a season, per se, and no expectations with the company aside from the quality of productions.

"Theatre with this company will be made when it is ready to and/or wants to be made. The 'lab' part of our title indicates that there is an experimental aspect to our company. Theatre Lab is a vehicle for our actors to do what they want, when they want. Shows will span from original works and one acts to full length productions and the occasional cabaret. It is a community of Saint Louis' talent collaborating to make art that has been hand-picked by our performers. Imagine that every theatre production you saw was chosen to be performed by the people performing it. This is the actor's theatre. We are actors. We're different," he said.

Additional information can be found at their Facebook Page: WWW.Facebook.com/TheatreLabSTL.

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