WEEKEND — A 24-hour fever: Play to be performed within a day of its creation

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The clock starts to tick tonight.

At 8 p.m., actors and writers — of any background — will gather at the Peninsula College Little Theater for the 24-Hour Theatre Festival, the creation of a brand-new play.

John Manno, orchestrator of all this, has done 24-hour theater before. The actor, director and musician has done lots of performing art before and after moving to Port Angeles a few years ago.

So he and Port Angeles actor Sean Peck-Collier began discussing an all-day-and-al-of-the-night production with other members of the local theater community.

“We found that it generated a surprising amount of enthusiasm,” said Peck-Collier. “All we had left to do, then, was to find a time and place to do it.

After some searching around and a couple meetings with people who were interested in participating in any way they could, we settled on [this year] the 28th and 29th of December.”

Suddenly, those dates are upon us. And 24-hour theater, Manno said, is akin to hurling oneself, and one's fellow thespians, over a precipice.

It all begins with one scribe writing a scene. The actors seize that and start memorizing, while a second writer cooks up scene 2.

And the train rolls down the track, with whoever hopped on board shaping the journey.

“It's a madcap, intense and remarkable experience,” said Manno, adding that the results depend on those who show up tonight in the Little Theater, at Peninsula College's main campus at 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

At 8 p.m. Saturday, everyone else out there in the community is invited to come see this blend of creativity, collaboration and improvisation at the Little Theater.

“It can either be a train wreck,” Manno acknowledged, “or a rollercoaster — the best kind of rollercoaster.”

In his theatrical life, the train wreck has never happened, Manno added. He fully expects Saturday night's show to be great fun to watch. And this performance is neither predictable nor expensive: Admission is a suggested $5 to $10 donation, with proceeds to benefit the Peninsula College Drama Department's future productions.

Peck-Collier is eager to get on with the experiment.

“In my experience, such things have always brought people closer together,” he said, “and produced something special to be shared with others.”

With Manno spearheading the project, Peck-Collier feels especially confident. He's worked with Manno on productions from “The Rocky Horror Show” at Peninsula College in 2010 to “No Exit” at the Port Angeles Community Playhouse earlier this month.

“I have found that things he has a hand in have a tendency to run smoothly,” Peck-Collier said of Manno. He attributes this to the fact that Manno is also a classically trained harpist, and a man who helps fellow performers sharpen their focus.

To find out more about the 24-Hour Theatre Festival and about Manno's next Peninsula College production, “Equus,” phone 360-670-2067 or email johnmanno@yahoo.com. Auditions for “Equus” are slated for Jan. 3-4 in the Little Theater at Peninsula College, and the play will take the stage March 1, 2 and 3.

Last modified: December 27. 2012 10:33PM
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