BWW Interviews: 3 IN 30: WHITE ELEPHANT to Deliver Three Overlooked Plays
The 3 IN 30: WHITE ELEPHANT showcase, which will be performed 10:30 p.m. Dec. 13 and Dec. 14, at the MadLab Theatre, could easily be called the "leftoverture." The showcase, which features three 10 minute plays by area playwrights, presents works that just missed the cut of previous 3 in 30 productions.
"We do the 3 in 30 shows about three or four times a year," says Stephen Woosley, the marketing director for 3 in 30. "We will throw out a word or a location and different people will throw us pitches for their shows (based on that scenario).
"We might get seven really good scripts and we can only use three of them. For this show, we wanted to go back and produce some of the scripts we hadn't done before. There are always times when we go 'Oh I wish we had done this one. I wish it could be four in 40.' That was the jump-off point for this one."
The 3 in 30: White Elephant is divided into three plays, WIFI HUNTERS AND GATHERERS, GONE IN THREE and THE TREVA EFFECT.
WIFI HUNTERS AND GATHERERS, written by MadLab newcomer Erik Sternberger, explores what happens when a neighborhood loses its power and its internet and its occupants scramble to secure the modern essentials. The play is directed by Becky Horseman and stars Chad Hewitt (Bruce), David Murdock (Keith), Shana Kramer (Janice) and Joe Liles (Grant).
Written by MadLab regular Brendan Michna, GONE IN THREE examines a man's relationship with a woman in different phases of his life. Directed by Michna and Michelle Batt, the play stars Nikki Smith (Emily) and Liles, Michna and Jim Azelvandre offer different points of view from the same male.
In THE TREVA EFFECT, Treva The Butterfly (Kramer) sets off an unlikely turn of events that releases havoc in the insect world. Written by Austin Steinmetz and directed by Josh Kessler, the show also stars Liles (Marvin the Moth), Sean Reid (Max the Cricket), Aran Carr (Red the Ladybug) and Hewitt (Webster the Drunken Spider).
Past themes for the 3 IN 30 showcases have included "First World Problems," "Las Vegas" and "Office." Woosley says he often tries to get a theme that corresponds to shows that MadLab is presenting at the time.
"Last year, our theme was 'Office' because we were doing a show called SHE'S DEAD which was set in an office," Woosley says. "Two of the three plays were Zombiesque. A lot of people can relate to having zombies in the office."
For the writer, the challenge is getting a theme across to the audience in a short amount of time.
"(When he was asked how long a paper should be) one of my old professors used to say 'They must be long enough to cover the subject and short enough to keep people's interests,'" Woosley says. "You need to get where you're going quickly. It's difficult to build full fleshed out characters in 10 minutes but it can be done."
For the actors and directors, the challenge is casting and assembling three different shows in a short period of time.
"Even with two months to do it, we're always scrambling to get people in place because we're doing other shows," Woosley says.
"Part of our goal with the 3 in 30 showcases is to get new people involved in not only writing but acting and directing. At the end of the day whether the show is a huge success or a near miss, we met our goals in getting people writing and developing scripts."
3 IN 30: WHITE ELEPHANT will be performed 10:30 p.m. Dec. 13 and Dec. 14 at the MadLab Theatre (227 N. 3rd Street). Tickets are $5 ($3 if you come see WALL: A Product of Resourcefulness and Efficiency in America's Never-Ending Battle for Absolute Supremacy and General All-Around Kick-Assedness at 8 p.m.). For more information, contact MadLab at 614-221-5418 or visit madlab.net.