Featuring more than a dozen participants from HWS, the Smith Center for the Arts will present “Finger Lakes Photo/Plays: 24 Hour Theatre” this weekend. The event brings together local writers and performers to create original performances inspired by local photography and created in less than 24 hours. The final production will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Smith. The event is open to the public.
“‘Finger Lakes Photo / Plays: 24 Hour Theatre’ is a unique opportunity for community members to collaborate with one another to create a beautiful piece of original theatre, all for the benefit of one of the most beautiful theatres in the region – The Smith Opera House,” says Assistant Professor of Theatre Chris Woodworth, who is leading the effort. “This event is not only an opportunity for creative genesis but an opportunity to celebrate the beauty and diversity of this community. Whether people participate as artists or attend as audience members, they will experience an event unlike any other they have encountered locally.”
The 50 participants who registered for the event will be split into teams on Friday night, which will include a writer, director and a group of actors. Teams will draw inspiration from a photo selected by local photographer Jan Regan, who will choose one photograph from her collection that features people at a local site. After the photo is released on Friday evening, writers will set to work crafting a short play.
HWS participants include: John Matthew Camara ’19, HWS Staff Psychologist Elizabeth Carroll, Kayli Ennis ’17, Luis Figueroa ’18, Assistant Professor of Psychology Emily Fisher, Kathleen Fowkes ’18, Access Services Technician Lisa Gibson, Grants Manager Karen Goulet, Associate Professor of Geoscience David Kendrick, Gail Quintos ’17, Professor of History Susanne McNally, Samantha Shaffner ’17, HWS Staff Psychologist Camille Simonetti and Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies Wan Sonya Tang.
On Saturday morning, the writers will hand their scripts over to their team directors, who will spend the morning figuring out their directorial concept for the play before beginning rehearsal with the actors. Once actors receive their scripts, they will have until the performances begin on Saturday to practice and memorize their lines.
The event will also feature two special guests: award-winning actor Tyrone Mitchell Henderson and award-winning playwright Charlotte Rahn-Lee. Both formerly of Geneva, Mitchell and Rahn-Lee will work alongside current community artists to contribute to their productions.
“Finger Lakes Photo/Plays” was inspired by an event put on by the Actors Theatre of Louisville in 2001, when the Theatre gave a group of playwrights a copy of Lee Friedlander’s photograph, “Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, 1969,” and challenged them to write a play. The result was Snapshot, a collection of fascinating plays by some of today’s best playwrights. The Finger Lakes edition draws on this model, adding the 24-hour time limit and use of a local photograph and local performers.
All proceeds from the “Finger Lakes Photo/Plays” will benefit the Smith Center for the Arts. The event is open to the public with a suggested donation of $5. Prints of the photo that inspired will also be available for purchase to benefit the Smith.
The photo above features Assistant Professor of Theatre Chris Woodworth directing HWS students for a recent production.