STANDISH — The Schoolhouse Arts Center is holding a new event this fall called “Red Eye: a 24 Hour New Play Festival,” co-organized by actor/director Randy Hunt.

Hunt, originally from Bangor, who now lives in the Portland area and has joined the southern Maine theater scene, has acted in more than a dozen fully-staged productions. He says he got the idea for the center’s new play festival from work he did with Ten Bucks Theatre in Bangor. Hunt joined in 2012, the year they held their inaugural “24-Hour New Play Festival,” which ended up being a successful annual event drawing around 30-45 actors, writers and directors each year.

After working with the center as the lead in their production of “Harvey,” Hunt pitched the festival idea to them. Once details were worked out with Schoolhouse board member Francine Morin, the festival was named and planned for Friday and Saturday, Oct. 19 and 20.

The festival is designed to be an opportunity for folks to try  writing a play, acting or directing. Newcomers as well as folks experienced in theater are welcome, ages 12 and up. Workshop hours are from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. The collaborative goal of the festival is for teams to work together and create a play about 10 minutes long.

Participants must indicate preference to be a writer, actor, director, etc. upon sign-up. Roles will be assigned the week before the festival. Writers are asked to not write ahead of time. Everyone will meet at the center Friday night to play icebreaker games and assign teams consisting of a writer, a director and two to four actors. Through improvisation games the writers will discover their actors’ personalities and capabilities which will shape their script ideas. Writers, actors and directors will then meet for one-hour workshops with their mentors: Michael Tooher, writers; Zachariah Stear, actors; and Jerry Walker, directors. The writing workshop is particularly helpful for those who haven’t done much (or any) play writing.

When the workshop ends Friday night, participants and mentors head home. Writers work late in order to meet the 8 a.m. deadline Saturday. Everyone will work on the play together over the course of the day, before inviting the public to a 7 p.m. showcase performance. 

Those interested in participating can sign up for the event at tinyurl.com/SchoolhouseRedEye2018.


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