Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Die-Nasty Theatre’s Annual 50 Hour Soap-A-Thon
This September was my third time performing in Die-Nasty’s famous Soap-A-Thon (which in the past was known for being the longest in the world at 53 hours). The Soap-A-Thon is a completely improvised play that runs continuously from Friday to Sunday night in mid-September and is how the company kicks off their new season. It’s different from usual improv in that there is a director, costumes and sets. Most improvisers will play the same character for the whole thing or switch back and forth between two characters. (I really love costumes!) The first time I did it was in 2006, I completed 36 hours, then in 2007 I did 43 and this year I did the full 50. That’s not to say that I didn’t unintentionally fall asleep during scenes and whatnot, but for the most part I was awake for 60 continuous hours. The key (for me at least) is having a character that you enjoy to play, is uplifting and isn’t too demanding of your voice or body (because that’s hard to sustain for long periods). I’ve always had a blast playing with Die-Nasty but I realized this Soap-A-Thon that when playing with their cast that I tend to play young girls. In normal improv I pride myself on my physicalization and commitment to any character but because our appearance is created through costumes and not solely through our imaginations, I tend to play characters that I could realistically be based on my actual age and body type. In all three Soap-A-Thon’s and whenever I’ve guested in Die-Nasty’s regular season I’ve played young ladies who are generally naive and very positive, “fix-it” type characters. This hasn’t been a problem but is something that for the next Soap-A-thon that I do (which could be in Liverpool England this November) I’m going to challenge myself to play the opposite sex and a character that is not so good willed.
Some of the highlights for me included the mascot heist, where I got to kung-fu style stage fight all the male cast members (photo by Jana Hove), the “Face Down Dance”, the highest energy musical number we could muster at 6 AM on Sunday (photo by Brad Fischer) and the completion of my “banner for peace in Millwoods” (photo by Jana Hove), which my character was crocheting the entire time and was a great help in keeping me awake.