They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they never say Rome wasn’t built in a play — wait, no, I mean they never say a play wasn’t built in day. That’s because of the 24 Hour Plays, a group of actors, writers, and directors who write and produce short plays in 24 hours, with the proceeds of the performances going to charity. Last night was the 15th annual 24 Hour Plays on Broadway, an event put on by the company to benefit the Urban Arts Partnership, a nonprofit that creates arts-integrated programs for underprivileged public-school students.
How it worked was six groups — each with its own writer, director, and ensemble — met at the American Airlines Theater at 10 p.m. Sunday. The writers, which included David Cross, Jonathan Marc Sherman, and Lucy Thurber, then worked overnight putting together a script that the directors and cast had started Monday morning. Each group then had all day to prepare their plays, leading up to the performance at 8 p.m. Monday back at the American Airlines Theater. Actors for this 24 Hour Plays included Rosie Perez, John Krasinski, Taran Killam, Edie Falco, Ben Foster, Cecily Strong, Rachel Dratch, Jay Pharoah, Amber Tamblyn, and Julia Stiles.
Vulture spent the day with Killam, from the orientation the night before to the final bow a full day later. This is how you put on a play in 24 hours.