As part of the the 24 Hour Plays presented by Montblanc, a benefit for the Urban Arts Partnership, actors, writers and directors collaborate to produce six ten minute plays within 24 hours. We shot exclusive photos of yesterday’s rehearsal for the opening act, Daily Bread, directed by Lucie Tiberghien and written the night before by Warren Leight. Claudie Blakley, Rachel Dratch, and Rosie Perez play the scorned lovers of lone male cast member Billy Crudup. Emmy Rossum helps set the scene as the cheerful, incompetent waitress at Le Pain Quotidien.
Related: See more from the 24 Hour Plays in our .
From left to right. “This is how I roll,” says Crudup.
Rossum inhabiting the role of the waitress. “I went to the Pain Quotidien at lunch and found a waitress and studied her,” she said. “I ran out of the theater and didn’t actually have any money and I was like, ‘Hi, I’m making a play about you. Can I ask you questions?’ I think they thought I was crazy, but then I told them I was an actor and it made sense.”
Tiberghien coaches Dratch, a long-time vet of the event. Earlier in the orientation process, all actors had to bring a prop from home, present their special skills, and provide their own costume. Dratch’s is rather run-of-the-mill. Sam Rockwell, who acted with Naomi Watts, John Krazinski, and Amber Tamblyn, wore an adult-sized uniform for the Flash.
Says Perez: “When you do a play you usually have three weeks, so it marinates in your body and you find things. Here you don’t have a lot of time to find things, so you have to rely on a lot of instinct and your craft and your skills, so the hardest part is just remembering your lines!”
Perez finds the humor in her lines, but she said the funniest thing so far in the process had been watching the newcomers crack under the pressure. “She’s gonna kill me, but Eva Mendes was the first one to crack,” she said. “She introduced herself and said what her skills were and brought her prop, and then about an hour later, when everyone was going around the room and talking, she just stood up and burst out: ‘Listen, this is what I can do! This is what I don’t want to do! And I really don’t want to do this!’ And I just started clapping and said ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we have our first freak-out.’ ”
Tiberghien gives direction.
During the orientation, all the actors had to go around and say their special skill. Said Rossum: “My special skill was singing and dancing and bedazzling and baking and sewing. Brooke Shields can hula hoop around her neck. And Anthony Mackie can do a Sean Connery impersonation. Demi [Moore] said she had no skills, and Ashton [Kutcher] said he had been good-looking for a really long time.”
Rossum said she also enjoyed how “amazingly low key everyone was for the most part. There were such big stars and everyone was, like, naked and changing in the same dressing room.” Here, Crudup imagines the possibilities.
Tiberghien amused at Rossum and Crudup’s interactions.
An aggravated Blakley and Rossum as the inept waitress.
Blakley takes a moment to learn her lines.
Perez made an executive decision not to bring a prop, which the plays ask all actors to bring to help inspire the writers. “The first year I brought a prop, they didn’t use it, and I hate lugging the frickin’ prop around all day and night. I’m the artistic chair, so I was like, I ain’t bringing the prop!”