1 – Artistic Director, Sean Daniels.
He’s out in front during rehearsals, watching everything and everyone. He is always looking at the big picture, thinking about the audience, the actors, and the overall presentation.
4 – The number of seasons this play has been produced. The first play was 43 Plays for 43 Presidents, and the writers just keep adding plays, and modifying the existing ones as history unfolds.
5 – Very talented (and busy) actors: Celina Dean, Veronika Duerr, Aaron Munoz, Nael Nacer, and Terrell Donnell Sledge are needed to put on this production.
This play is very physically demanding as well as mentally taxing. If I had to play the role of a president whose politics I disagreed with, it would be a challenge; Imagine playing the role of several presidents whose politics were counter to yours!
5 is also the number of playwrights involved in the production of this play. Andy Bayiates, Sean Benjamin, Genevra Gallo-Bayiates, Chloe Johnston, and Karen Weinberg collaborated on writing the script.
For the first writing, I’m told they chose which plays to write by drawing names. They collaborated on the more recent presidents, re-writing updates as history unfolds and opinions change.
12 – People behind the scenes, making sure the production runs smoothly, and everyone has what they need to be successful. There is Danielle Zandri, who attends all the rehearsals, takes detailed notes, and plans the schedule for each day. At the end of each day, Danielle sends out a report with notes, changes, and/or additions required for Production/Facilities (Peter Crewe), Props (Brendan Conroy), Scenic (Michael Raiford, Scenic Designer and Patrick Storey, Stage Supervisor), Costumes (A. Lee Viliesis, Costume Designer), Lighting & Sound/Music (Carter Miller, supervisor; Brian J. Lilienthal, Lighting Designer; Stowe Nelson, Sound Designer; and unique to this play: Ido Levran, Projection Designer and Josh Dean, Supplemental Audio Recorder). Choreographer Wendy Seyb works with actors on the dances, fight scenes, and other antics. There are also the Administrative, Front of House, and Marketing issues to track, as well as script changes to track. Each night a report goes out, and minutes later, the emails start flying: confirming, clarifying, and communicating, to make sure everyone is on the same page.
23 – Additional MRT Staff, from Executive Director Elizabeth Kegley, to the 5 Apprentices and Interns who are the playwrights, directors, and designers of the future.
26 – Days between the first rehearsal and opening night. Which is…
139 – Hours of rehearsal time. That isn’t really a lot of time when you think about just how much needs to go into a production like this. I am continually amazed at the amount of effort that goes into this, in such a short span of time.
147 – Different characters/rolls played by the 5 actors in the 45 different 2 minutes plays. That’s A LOT of personality changes in just 120 minutes.
I encourage everyone to make the time to see this excellent play. I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed following its progression. Opening night was tonight, September 10, 2016 and it runs through October 2nd. You can purchase tickets online at http://www.mrt.org/box-office or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Lisa Arnold, Cohort
45 Plays for 45 Presidents runs through October 2.