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Creativity on speed!

February 21, 2013

Zombie Joe’s takes an amazing idea and pushes it to the limits. What exactly is a 50 Hour Drive By Festival? It consists of five mini Plays written and directed within 50 hours. The first lines of the first play are recited live and on stage 50 hours after they were written. How does something like this work? Through lottery the writers are given five props at random. They then have 23 hours to come up with an amazing script. From there the directors are randomly assigned the freshly finished scripts. The actors show up, rehearsal begins. 50 hours from start to finish, creativity under this kind of pressure can lead to some amazing results.

How are these plays better than your average Saturday night skit show? They don’t try to wrap up the story in a nice neat bundle. There is no beginning middle or end. Each story starts smack dab in the middle or moments before the end of pivotal points in the character’s lives. That’s enough, the audience is left free to invent the missing pieces of the story for themselves. By focusing on the critical moments in the character’s lives the writer can cut to the heart of the issues. The actors can pick that heart up and show you all of the emotions that led to this pivotal point without losing anything to the back story.

The five stories:

Me Mates by JohnFalchi, directed by Jana Wimer follows three young post-World War II London orphans. Pip(Chelsea Rose) has gotten in his head that they are going to go kill Nazis liked her father. Fife(Nicole Fabbri) has to constantly remind Pip that the war is over. Along comes Piggy(Adam Messana) and shenanigans ensue. Random props: Quillen paper, lantern, children’s blocks.

Nobody Written and directed by Vanessa Cate. This is the tale for the hopeless romantic with an ending up in the air. The story is told through a series of flashbacks ending with a flashback that leaves you unsure if it was a picture of the future or just another flashback. Tanya(Beth Ricketson) wakes to find her lover Harold(Kerr Seth Lordygan) missing. Cynthia(Jonica Patella) shows up to console her friend. She asks what could’ve happened as the story progresses through its series of flashbacks. Nobody is the type of story that could be fleshed out into a tearjerker that everyone can enjoy. Though like all good tearjerkers you would be hard-pressed to find a man willing to admit they enjoyed it(we’re jerks like that). Random props: thumb drive, remote control, camera film.

The Rending by Adam Neubauer, directed by Sebastian Munoz. The Rending takes place at the tail end of a psychological ride. Nightclub Owner(Roger K. Weiss) has just finished interrogating A Crony(Alex Medina) on his relationship with the owners girlfriend Cocktail Waitress(Redetha Deason). The story takes place in an alternate underworld. Where the Nightclub Owner needs some bizarre drug just to maintain a steady calm. You get the sense that this is the end of a long and bloody story, and even if the Nightclub Owner lets them go. They won’t live. Random props: club shaped mirror, Ziploc vacuum sealer, diary.

Finished Basement by Jeri Batzdorff, directed by Denise Devin. This story not only picks up at the end but at a new beginning. Siblings Greg(Jeff Cowan) and Randy(Mark Nager) are cleaning up their family home after what appears to be the death of their parents. They find themselves in an empty basement and begin reminiscing. They are joined by their adopted sister Phoebe(Sascha Lorren) who while an adult has the energy of a child on a sugar rush. The reminiscing begins when Randy finds an old matchbook that their mother had written her number and for their father the first time they had met. Randy goes to find some food while Greg and Phoebe reminisce about Phoebe’s magical binoculars. Ricky(Mark Nager) joins his siblings and Greg gives him his old expired condoms still in the wrapper from high school. This is an ending but it is also beginning because he siblings must go on with their lives. Random props: condoms, matchbook, bubble containers strapped together like binoculars?

Shmee’s Song by Jim Eshom, directed by Josh T. Ryan. Shmee’s Song takes place in some alternate future where we have become a hive mind society. We have access to all information and the greatest high we can think of is disconnecting from the hive and dumping that information and just existing in the moment. Grimm(Amir Khalighi) a conservative looking man is on his first date with Shmee(Corey Zicari) a silver skinned blue haired eccentric goddess. When their date is interrupted by Doc(Tucker Matthews) an eccentric man carrying a skull and suffering from some type of delusional disorder. Grimm is unable to fully disconnect from the hive as such he appears as a stick in the mud. Doc the free spirit and clearly insane strikes up a kinship with Shmee allowing her to fully disconnect and tune into some unheard song. She finally gets the high she is seeking. This is another one of those stories that can be fleshed out into a full-length story. You want to know what happens next so you’ll have to imagine what happens yourself. Random props: an old cassette player and cassette, a skull on a stick.

If you’re reading this it’s too late to go see the 50 Hour Drive-by Theatre Festival… What can you do to fix this check back with Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group online to see when their next Drive-By will be.

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