American Century Theater Performs 365 Days/365
In the Style of Classic Radio Theater via Teleconference
on December 18
- In the largest theatrical collaborative effort ever undertaken
in the United States, theaters across America are joining
creative forces to present Suzan-Lori Parks' epic 365
Days/365 plays over a 52 week span. But only Arlington's
American Century Theater is audacious enough to present its
week of original plays in the style of old-time live radio
drama to truly capture the power of the words.
On December 18,
at 8:00 PM, DC area audience members will be able to call
a toll-free number and connect to a unique theatrical event.
They will hear seven original plays Parks wrote for the
week of December 18-24, performed by professional actors with
live sound effects. They can also connect the broadcast to
a speaker phone and invite their friends and family to experience
the "theater of the imagination" that made radio drama so
effective and memorable.
is one of the most celebrated of rising young playwrights,
the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for drama for
her 2002 play, Top Dog/Underdog. Parks, a MacArthur
"genius" award winner, completed a collection of 365
short plays of five to seven minutes a piece, one for each
day of the year. Cities, including Washington, D.C.,
will be presenting the plays in order, with a different theater
company taking each week. DC's Studio Theatre is coordinating
the project for the Washington area.
"The radio theater
format gives us an opportunity to get live theater into the
homes of people who may not be able to travel, during a time
of year that can be very stressful" explained TACT Artistic
Director Jack Marshall. "We are bringing live theater directly
into homes. This is free, and both new and nostalgic. All
anyone needs is a telephone."
The troupe of
actors performing the plays include Mary McGowan (The
Autumn Garden), vocal artist
Rick Rohan (A Thousand
Clowns) and Marshall. But, the
key person in the production is TACT sound designer Keith
Bell. He provides the technical skills to make this experimental
radio drama happen. "I promise that over the phone the
plays will sound just like a studio production," said Marshall.
The 800 number
and the PIN Code will be available to anyone wishing to hear
the broadcast beginning Monday, December 4, by calling the
TACT message line (703-553-8782), or by going to www.americancentury.org.
The entire performance will be approximately forty minutes
"Our company is
dedicated to presenting great plays and musicals that have
been neglected, and now we are presenting a classic form of
drama that has been neglected," says Marshall. "There is nothing
like live drama performed over the radio, and this holiday
season, that is our gift to the community."
The American Century
Theater is a 501 (c)(3) professional nonprofit theater company
dedicated to producing great, important and neglected 20th
Century American plays and playwrights. TACT is funded in
part by Arlington County through the Cultural Affairs Division
of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
and the Arlington Commissioner for the Arts; the Virginia
Commissioner for the Arts and numerous foundations and many