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A Play a Day 

La Colectiva makes its debut with Suzan-Lori Parks's tour-de-theater

In 2002, Suzan-Lori Parks decided to write a play every day for the whole year. I’m so glad Chekhov didn’t have that idea. Can you imagine? All Anton, all the time – wow, that’s sort of how I imagine hell. Monday: The Cherry Orchard! Tuesday: Uncle Vanya! Wednesday: Three Sisters! Weeks of visionless productions of plays that already drone on (will anyone ever get to Moscow?), like most of Match Point. Yeah, take that you Scoop-haters! It’s all very unsophisticated of me, I know, but I digress …
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog) challenges you to step up to the black box.
Moving right along, Parks’s 365 Days/365 Plays will be premiering nationally in many of the cities you’d expect (New York, D.C., Seattle, LA), and — get this — in South Texas, from November 13, 2006, to November 13, 2007.

The year-long play cycle is being organized in San Antonio by fledgling theater company La Colectiva. This merry band of (primarily) Chicana thespians formed during teatroFEST 2006
— which showcased a great breadth of feminine talent. Colectiva’s collective goal? To produce new works.

365 Days/365 Plays seemed like just the thing to get La Colectiva kick-started, according to producing director Marisela Barrera, who adds that a touring roster should be up by September. Her “superobjective” is for La Colectiva to act as an umbrella company for student and experimental troupes that are way (way) out on the fringe. For anyone, and she means anyone, who’s tossed around the idea of putting on a play or forming a theater company, she says now’s a great time to just do it, and mix it with 365 Days/365 Plays.

It will take 52 companies (and universities, public school groups, etc.) volunteering for a week of plays each to make 365 happen in San Antonio and across South Texas. The San Pedro Playhouse and Jump-Start Performance Co. have already thrown in their hats, according to Barrera, who says she’s also been in communication with a group in Corpus Christi, and plans to produce a week’s worth of plays herself in the Valley over the Christmas holidays.

Plays can be read or fully staged, but La Colectiva is encouraging imaginative performances with creative Texas backdrops. Troupes must contribute $30 for licensing fees, and to cover the costs of the 365 Days/365 Plays South Texas brochure. Additionally, volunteering companies must be able to produce a full week of plays at their own cost (but “suggested donation” boxes are allowed). Sorry moms, the plays cannot be videotaped, and once a troupe commits to a week, there’ll be none of this wishy-washyin’ about, trying to change to other weeks or plays.

La Colectiva is offering to locate theater venues, but it’s up to the troupes themselves to secure nontraditional performing spaces. This is one of the more whimsical aspects of La Colectiva’s vision for 365 Days/365 Plays — the plays can be performed just about anywhere: a backyard, a barn, a church. Hell, get your Brecht on and do it in public trans.

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