This was a nearly perfect workday for me here in St Helena. After a leisurely (read: excruciatingly long) drive to Yountville from the city, I arrived at the Lincoln Theater for Festival del Sole’s “24 Hour Plays.” If you’re like me, you would think that means a series of plays running for 24 hours–but you would be, understandably, mistaken.
“The 24 Hour Plays” are four short plays written, costumed, designed, rehearsed and performed in the space of 24 hours. Playwrights put pen to paper after eight o’clock Friday night, and finished sometime just before the break of dawn on Saturday morning. Today, the cast bought costumes, received and rehearsed each play for about 30 minutes–and then performed them for a full house.
If the conceptual novelty in itself wasn’t enough to draw a full house to this Festival del Sole event, the celebrity performers were. Chris Noth, Hugh Dancy, Minnie Driver and Michael Keaton, along with a cast of local actors, staged four exceptionally fun, season-themed plays. The excitement of watching familiar actors perform a theatrical high wire act, and the possibility of seeing your famous “friends” flub on the stage, recalled a little bit of summer camp theatricals.
That festive, last-night-of-camp feeling continued into dinner just up the road at Wolf Family Vineyards, where actors and festival supporters flocked for a lakeside cocktail, followed by dinner under a canopy of light-strung tulip trees. And that’s where I am now–writing this–watching Minnie Driver laughing her ass off next to Michael Keaton. Incidentally, the two of them crashed what guests have been calling the “party table.” Looks like it from here . . .
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