Plays in a Day

Grace Zhao, Staff Writer

On March 13th, a group of writers headed down to the computer lab. There, eight pictures by Edward Hopper awaited them. Carolyn Mandracchia and Erika Riley, student supervisors of the annual Plays in a Day event, assigned each writing group one inspirational painting. Most of the students had never written a play before, yet their one-act plays would be finished in eight periods.

Plays in a Day is an event hosted by the Cinnabar club and the Ward Melville Players. This year, the event raised over four hundred dollars, with all the proceeds going to Broadway Cares, an HIV/AIDS fundraising and grant-making organization.

“It’s an authentic experience for all students involved,” said Ms. Rochford, advisor of the event. “I really never see a group of students so engaged in anything. From the moment they start to the moment they finish, the groups work together and everybody is so intent on getting it done and getting it right. To me, the energy is just so positive.”

2015 marks the fifth year of Plays in a Day. The event started when Carolyn DeLuca, a Ward Melville alumni, pitched the idea to Ms. Rochford as a twenty-four hour process. At DeLuca’s college, the writers wrote overnight and the actors practiced during the day. With the only modification being a time reduction, Ms. Rochford agreed and Plays in a Day became an official Ward Melville event.

“We’re there from 7am to 9pm,” said senior Erika Riley, co-president of Cinnabar. “It’s crazy because a play doesn’t even exist at the beginning of the day, and at the end, there were 8 plays. I really liked working with a lot of different people that I usually don’t get to work with.” Riley also noted that her experience with running coffeehouse helped her co-manage Plays in a Day efficiently.

“Sometimes it’s about the process,” said senior Carolyn Mandracchia. “I think half the fun of being a part of something like this is seeing all the writers brainstorm and put their ideas together, and seeing it come alive.”

One member of Cinnabar, sophomore Ryan Bicks, both acted and wrote for Plays in a Day. In fact, Plays in a Day was the first experience Bicks had ever had with acting. “Up until halfway through that experience, I hadn’t planned on acting. We sort of extemporaneously added another role, which needed another actor. Of course, since it involved death, I was selected. It was really a redeeming experience, though,” said Bicks.

Members in the audience of the LGI witnessed plays about blind dates, old friend reunions, murder mysteries, parent-teacher conferences, and more. Junior Elizabeth Zhao’s group took a comedic approach to their inspirational photo, Nighthawks. “It was a little stressful because at first we didn’t know what to write,” said Zhao. “Humor is hard. But once we got our idea, it was pretty cool. I really appreciate the actors because they took our play and made it into something real. You get to see your words come to life”

““If you’re interested in writing, acting, directing, lighting, sound, anything like that, Plays in a Day is very inclusive for people to explore their passions,” said Mandracchia. “And it’s such a fun event. So much work goes into it. It’s hard; it’s not easy. But it’s so worth it because it’s a one of a kind event, really. You’re probably never going to do anything like this after high school.”