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24 Hour Theatre Project

The doors to the Orpheum Theatre sit open Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, at the start of the 24 Hour Theatre Project in Twin Falls. Throughout the project, 15 actors split into three teams had to come up with an original 35-minute play based on the genre they were randomly assigned.

Last weekend I accepted the challenge of photographing the 24 Hour Theatre Project at the Orpheum Theatre in Twin Falls. It was a long adventure that took me through the entire theatre process.

Competitors were split into three teams and given 24 hours to create an original 35-minute play. Each team was also assigned a random prop, genre and Shakespearean quote that had to be incorporated into their performance.

If you had the opportunity to read my article about the project, you'll find this next part familiar. If you hadn't had a chance to read the original article the link for it is to your left. What follows is a timeline of my events throughout the course of this project.

Friday, 6:23 p.m.: I walk out of the office and travel the two blocks to the theatre. I snap my first frame of the project, a picture of the marquee outside the theatre.

Friday, 6:42 p.m.: Project Administrator Jared Johnson introduces me to the group and informs everyone of why I am here. I take a quick group shot before the teams split up.

Friday, 7:04 p.m.: I meet Team Beckett and grab their names with reference photos. With the number of people and costume changes throughout this project, these reference photos are going to save my butt when it comes time to write cutlines.

Friday, 8.01 p.m.: I follow Team Kyd down into the dark basement to photograph them sorting through props. I didn't bring a flash, so I have to drop my shutter speed to capture their actions.

Friday, 8:26 p.m.: I sing snippets of show tunes with Team Simon as they search for songs to represent their characters. Typically I don't want to be seen or heard when on assignment because I want people to forget I'm there and act naturally, but for a longer assignment like this it's import to built a rapport with the people I'm covering.

Friday, 9:12 p.m.: I walk back to the office to download my cards and start sorting my images. At this stage all of the groups are writing their scripts so the image options are fairly limited.

Friday, 11:00 p.m.: I return to the theatre to check on the progress of the teams. Unfortunately no one is sleeping in the theatre yet, so I do not get the photo I am hoping for of a participant napping on the floor.

Friday, 11:23 p.m.: After shooting every angle I can imagine of people brainstorming I get bored and start to experiment with detail shots.

Friday, 11:48 p.m.: I head home to drop off some gear with plans of returning at 1:00 a.m.

Saturday, 12:37 a.m.: Jared texts me to tell me the teams are going home for the night. No one is sleeping in the theatre.

Saturday, 1:30 a.m.: I finish sorting through my previous shoots. It's time to head to bed for a few hours.

Saturday, 8:00 a.m.: After showering and making coffee I'm out the door and on my way to the office to set up my computers. My wife has to work and daycare is closed, so my daughter is coming with me today.

Saturday, 10:00 a.m.: I have to take a break from my story to photograph Vic Graybeal at his home. Being the only photographer on Saturdays, I'm often called away from stories to cover other assignments.

Saturday, 10:41 a.m.: I'm back at the theatre trying to figure out how to emphasize coffee cups in all of my photos, because caffeine is the new word of the day. My daughter plays on her kindle while I work.

Saturday, 11:09 a.m.: Team Beckett begs me to bring newspapers for their show. I grab my daughter and head back to the office to dump my memory cards and recharge her kindle.

Saturday, 12:36 p.m.: We're back at the theatre to photograph the tech meetings with the sound and lighting engineers. This will be my only chance to see the plays and get an idea of how they will look before the final performances that evening. This is important because it gives me an idea of where I need to be to capture specific expressions or scenes.  

Saturday, 1:55 p.m.: My daughter and I go back to the office. I need to edit my photos and write my story before the final performances begin at 7:30. I set up a makeshift bed out of my coat for my daughter to take a nap on while I begin my work.

Saturday, 3:30 p.m.: My wife brings us pizza at the office so we can have dinner together. She picks up our daughter so I can get back to work. The more I finish now, the less I have to do after the show. 

Saturday, 5:59 p.m.: With my story mostly written and my photos edited, I walk back to the theatre for the final stretch of the story.

Saturday, 7:17 p.m.: I take a group selfie with all of the performers before the show begins. We wait in the dressing room for show time. I plan out where I want to position myself for each play.

Saturday, 9:17 p.m.: The performers take their final bows. I congratulate them on jobs well done before heading back to the office for my final editing session.

Saturday, 11:30 p.m.: My story is submitted, my gallery is built and I'm done for the day. I'm on my way home for some much needed sleep.


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