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Overnighters event puts talent to the test for playwrights, actors

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Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012 12:27 am | Updated: 11:52 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — Four Fairbanks playwrights and a small group of actors are tasked with a monumental leap into creativity: Sit down in one night, write a play, rehearse it the next day, then perform it that night.

That’s what will happen tonight and Saturday when Looking Glass Group Theatre and the Fairbanks Drama Association bring the event Overnighters to the Riverfront Theatre in Fairbanks.

Dawson Moore, director of the annual Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez and an instructor in theater at UAF’s Prince William Sound Community College Campus, is at the helm of the theatrical experience. Tonight, he will give playwrights Anne Hanley, Tom Moran, Carey Seward and Kavelina Torres a topic. They will go home and write a short play based loosely around that topic. On Saturday morning, they will hand their plays over to directors who will rehearse the plays all day with actors.

Come Saturday night at 10:30 p.m., the cast puts on the hastily written and rehearsed works.

Hanley, who is part of Looking Glass Group Theatre with along with Susie Hackett and Peggy Ferguson, managing director of the Fairbanks Drama Association, is delving into the overnight event for the first time but not without a little hesitation.

“I’ve never done it, and I’m excited about getting involved and having a crack at it,” she said. “It’s kind of like making a meal at with what you have in the house. You have to make do with it.”

Hanley used butterflies as an example of a topic Moore might give them, but don’t expect to be that simple. It could be butterflies. It could be butterflies on Mars. It could be butterflies testifying before a Congressional committee. You just have to pick up the topic and run with it, she said.

“We all want to put on something that is polished but you have to let all that editing go and say, ‘This is what it’s going to be,’” she said.

Moore has been producing overnighters events in Anchorage since 2002 and learned of the idea from the Rough Theatre Company in San Francisco. “The overnighters process is a great education that creates engaging, entertaining theater,” he wrote on his website, www.dawsonmoore.com.

If you go:

What: Overnighters

When: 10:30 p.m. Saturday. Doors open at 10 p.m.

Where: Riverfront Theatre, 1852 Second Ave., 456-PLAY

Tickets: Free, but donations are accepted

Contact Features Editor Gary Black at 459-7504, by email at gblack@newsminer.com or on Twitter at @FDNMfeatures.

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