There are many amazing examples of heroism in Gotham this September. On Monday night, Planet Impact held its “The 24 Hour Plays” benefit at the Minetta Lane Theater for Working Playground’s program to help children in the city cope with the tragic events of Sept. 11.
The heroic hook had 23 actors performing in six 10-minute plays written, rehearsed and teched in a mere 24 hours. Playwrights Warren Leight, Richard LaGravenese, Frank Pugliese, Tamara Jenkins, Nicole Burdette and Chris Shinn got their assignments at 10 p.m. on Sunday, actors started rehearsals at 8:30 a.m. on Monday and the show went on 12 hours later.
Pre-performance, Leight weighed in:
“I am grateful for the chance this benefit gives me to get back into a theater. To work. To be with my community. To try to create something rather than to cry or feel numb. I don’t know what, or even how to write, given the last 10 days. The skyline and our lives have changed. The work will reflect that.”
In Leight’s “Nine Ten,” Mary-Louise Parker, Robert Sean Leonard, Natasha Lyonne, Andre Royo and Rosie Perez played a troupe of recalcitrant New Yorkers on jury duty, with Parker getting the evening’s most memorable line: “There are no sharks in the Hamptons — professional courtesy.”
Fisher Stevens and Marisa Tomei contemplated buying a gun from Philip Seymour Hoffman and Adam Nelson in Pugliese’s “A Living Room.”
Sam Rockwell and Lili Taylor took a convoluted car trip across America, with Iowa east of Indiana, in Shinn’s “Sandcastle,” while Billy Crudup showed he was a tremendous song-and-dance man in Burdette’s “A While.”
And playing grade-school teachers, Kyra Sedgwick, Julianne Moore and Catherine Kellner showed they were definitely ready for Broadway in “Recess” by LaGravenese.
Other thesps walking the hire wire were Benjamin Bratt, Liev Schreiber, Jared Harris, Brendan Sexton III, Scarlett Johansson, Drena DeNiro, Adam Nelson, Brice Gaillard and Brent Cox.
The partylike atmosphere continued at Spa in the East Village.