Gone in Sixty Seconds - A Theatre Quest (idea)
Note that this writeup has been updated several times, with new additions towards the top.
I have, finally, got hold of the video of the plays' performance! I've compressed it into XviD (so you'll need to get hold of the XviD codec to watch them) and I will be uploading the videos over the next few days. Each one is about five to ten megabytes. My ISP only offers enough web-space for me to host a few at a time, but kthejoker has kindly offered to mirror them.
For the moment, though, the first batch are available at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/dreamcountry/60secs/
UPDATE: The kthejoker mirror is in full effect at http://kanm3.tamu.edu/SixtySeconds/ - all 20 plays ready for your perusal. Enjoy!
Update! In my haste to get stuff online, I edited the sketches a little more tightly than was appropriate, and ended up chopping off the audience reaction on most of them! This terrible error has been corrected - if you downloaded any sketches before about 2004-05-03 1700 GMT, you have an old, applause-free version.
You should be able to get the XviD codec at http://www.roeder.goe.net/~koepi/xvid.shtml for Windows, or, I'm told, http://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-macosx.html for the Mac. I'm sure Linux users can handle it on their own - my copy of mplayer seems to play any and all things already, for what it's worth. (Also: gusnz says "Instead of the whole XviD codec, you can also use FFDSHOW http://sf.net/projects/ffdshow which is a free Windows XviD and DivX decoder with all sorts of post-processing filters")
Once that's done, I will figure out what exactly I'm going to put on the CD version and collect addresses to post that to. One thing at a time though.
It's all over! The performance was two days ago. The plays were actually split over two shows in the same evening. The first one sold out, and the second one virtually sold out. (I should mention that we weren't, alas, performing on the main stage but in a smaller area that seats around fifty.)
We made it through without any major disasters - no heart-stopping moments of silence while someone tried to remember their lines. We did deviate from the script a couple of times, it's true - Have you fed the fish?, in particular, was rather loosely interpreted (sorry no_one!) - but not to the extent that the audience would have noticed.
Overall the plays went down well, with the audience laughing when they were supposed to, and shutting up when they were supposed to. I think it's fair to say a good time was had by all.
The event was recorded for posterity on digital video, so as soon as I can coax a copy out of the director, I shall make it available to download. I hope to have it up by the weekend (22nd May 2004) but until I get my hands on it there's not much I can do, so no promises. I've got permission from all the noder authors to do so. I may have to edit out the non-noder plays since I don't have their explicit permission - I'll take advice from the theatre. If anyone has any strong feelings on how to go about getting this video out to people, let me know.
I'll happily snail-mail a copy on CD gratis to anyone who entered the quest (whether their work was performed or not) along with a copy of the programme. Just msg me your postal address. Non-entrants, you have to send me a mix CD or something in exchange (that'll teach you not to write a play), or you can just download it, or get a copy off someone else, or whatever.
If you had an entry performed, and for whatever reason a download or copy on CD is no use to you, I promise I will do my damndest to get you a copy of it in some form, somehow. Let me know.
We've been doing readthroughs at the theatre of all the submitted entries, so I can now announce which plays are going to be performed! I'm grateful to all authors that submitted their work, and it's a shame they can't all be performed. I'm delighted, though, that such a high proportion of the E2 entries will be performed and I hope all those authors will be excited that their work is reaching a live audience.
So then, without further ado, here's the list of E2 plays that will be performed in Harrogate, England on the 15th of May, 2004:
Hearty congratulations to all the above noders.
I have a big ol' living room floor which is available for crashing on if any authors would like to come and see the performance, or if noders in general are interested to see their fellow E2ers' work. Harrogate is also full of hotels and beds and breakfasts and suchlike, because there's a conference centre here, so if you want to come but don't fancy sleeping on the floor, you don't have to.
Also, the director assures me that he intends to video-tape the plays! I should be able to convert it into some form that can be distributed digitally, so with luck everyone that wants to see the plays will be able to. I've contacted the above noders asking permission to distribute their work in this way.
The quest is now closed. Thanks to all who submitted their work! All entries have now been consolidated under Gone in Sixty Seconds - Theatre Quest Entries. Quest baubles have been doled out - details on Demeter's homenode. I have sent all scripts on to the theatre and will update this writeup when I know which sketches will actually be performed. Obviously I will do my best to cajole and coerce the director into picking as many E2 scripts as possible but, really, as a mere actor, I have virtually zero influence in the matter.
Our scripts are competing with scripts submitted by other means, plus there are lots of tedious practical factors that affect whether or not a sketch actually makes it into the play, and changes can be made to the line-up right up to the last minute of rehearsals, so I won't be able to update here until some time in May.
Once again, thank you to all who took part!
Gentle noders, lend me your ears. I present for you an exciting quest; a quest to have your work performed on stage!
The amateur theatre group of which I am a member is taking part in a writing festival. We will be performing a selection of plays submitted by any and all people. We have done this before, and it was a big success - however, due to lack of any serious effort to advertise, virtually all the submissions were from the theatre's writing group. This year I hope to change that, with your help!
When the quest ends, I will hand all submissions on to the director, who will consider them for inclusion on an equal footing to scripts submitted by other means. Obviously not all plays can be performed. The collected plays will be performed in Harrogate Theatre, England, on the 15th of May.
I told the director I was a member of an online writing community, full of talented authors. Help me show him just how serious I was about that.
Quoting the group's director:
So, you can see here that we want short, sharp scripts. So short in fact that calling them 'plays' might be stretching it a little. 'Sketches' perhaps. Comedy is the most likely candidate for such a short slot, and is always much appreciated, but by no means consider yourself limited to humour! Moving an audience with tragedy or thrilling them with drama in a mere sixty seconds is a challenge worthy of the talented writers we have here.
By the way, please don't let the 'offensive or in bad taste' rule put you off writing a good sketch. Smut or political stuff or a certain amount of bad language isn't going to be problematic.
I suggest reading your sketch out loud with a stopwatch to get an idea of how long it is, but as a rough guide, I think 200 spoken words is the absolute most you can get away with.
For the cast, assume that you have up to three male and three female actors available. Performing so many short sketches in quick succession, the cast will be unable to perform costume changes or make use of any props beyond a few chairs. Don't fret though: a theatre audience will readily accept a bit of mime as long as it's clear what's going on from the dialogue.
I've had a few questions about how to lay out a script. Really, nothing fancy needed here. For example:
Submitting and the resulting baubles
Submit your entry at Gone in Sixty Seconds - Theatre Quest Entries and message me with the name you'd like the script submitted to the theatre under. (Your handle or your real name or a pen name - whatever you'd like to show up in the programme if it's performed.)
This quest is being sponsored by the gracious Demeter, who will be dispensing C!s and XP bonuses for submissions. (Thanks also to Lucy-S, unofficial co-sponsor and all-round cool person!) and I will send a copy of the show programme to all the noders whose work is actually performed.
It is traditional, in quest writeups, that I also inform you that plagiarism will be met with the death penalty in one of its more extreme forms.
I've had a few questions about the eligibility of writeups that existed before the quest opened, so I have had to have a think and form some kind of policy.
One of the major points of a quest is to generate new writeups for E2. I would really love to see this quest generate some new quality creative writing for us all to appreciate. On the other hand, one of the major points of this particular quest is to hand submit some excellent E2 writing to my local theatre in the hope of getting it performed, and so I don't want to disqualify existing writeups altogether. Therefore the rules for existing writeups are:
The closing date for this quest is the end of April 10th, 2004. Submit your theatrical wonders! Make us laugh! Make us cry! Do so in a mere sixty seconds! Save me from performing another slew of sketches about erectile dysfunction courtesy of our writers' group! Please!
Entries so far: