WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Thirteen aspiring Whitman playwrights (who have studied with three professional playwrights for the last three weeks) will whip up a batch of instant plays this week to be served on Harper Joy Theatre’s Alexander Stage Saturday, Sept. 26, and Sunday, Sept. 27.
The Instant Play Festival (now in its second year) gives 13 students the opportunity to study with three professional playwrights – Adam Rapp, Sheri Wilner and Kristen Kosmas this year – for three weeks before each is given the assignment of creating and performing a 10-minute play within a 48-hour time frame.
“The result is not always the most polished work,” said producer Chris Petit, assistant professor of theatre, “but the exercise invariably creates some amazing discoveries and strikes right at the heart of the creative process.”
On Friday, Sept. 25, when the workshops with Rapp, Wilner and Kosmas end, seven of the 13 student playwrights will be assigned a production team, drawn at random from a pool of directors and actors, and a theme for a 10-minute play. They will write their plays that night, rehearse them the following morning and afternoon, and the final works will be performed that evening at 8. The process will then be repeated for the remaining six playwrights, who will be give themes and teams and expected to produce plays by Sunday evening at 5. This group has less time from conception to production because Sunday’s performance will begin at 5 p.m. to honor the beginning of the Jewish High Holdiday Yom Kippur.
“The idea is to create an event that involves and celebrates all aspects of our community,” said Petit. The production teams (actors and directors) assigned to the playwrights are made up of students, faculty and staff, many of whom have little or no experience in the theater. “Much of the event’s value lies in asking people to operate out of their comfort zones. Because of the compressed time schedule, there is little time to over-think or rationalize the creative choices being made, either by the playwright or the production teams. The participants must draw upon their intuition and operate from an instinctual, creative place that celebrates courage and imagination.”
For more information or to reserve or purchase tickets, please contact the Whitman College Box Office, 527-5180, from 10 a.m. until noon and 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. weekdays.
Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156 or
Chris Petit, producer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 527-5897