Shakespeare has writer’s block. Nothing inspires him. The best he can come up with is “Now is the winter of our irritation!” Postcards from Shakespeare by Allison Williams is so much more than your typical Shakespeare spoof.

Theatrefolk - The Drama Teacher Resource Company
The 25 Hour Play Project

The 25 Hour Play Project

Episode 91: The 25 Hour Play Project

Playwright and educator Corey-Jan Albert talks about working with student playwrights and how to get students from idea to finished product in 25 hours, including a staged reading!

Show Notes

Episode Transcript

Welcome to TFP, The Theatrefolk Podcast. I’m Lindsay Price, resident playwright for Theatrefolk. Hello, I hope you’re well. Thanks for listening.

Okay. Here we are at Episode 91. You can catch the links for this episode at

So, this week, I’m travelling and, so far, I’ve done a couple of things I have always wanted to do. Wanted to see the California Redwoods, big, and two, the Pacific Ocean – see the Pacific Ocean, also big.

You know, it’s really funny. I am a huge lover of looking at nature – looking, not being in nature but being beside nature. I don’t like to hike. I do not like to camp. I am very terrified of bugs and creepy crawlers. I hate going without a shower. I am a girl who likes indoor plumbing yet I love looking out at a view. I love looking at water. I love looking at the ocean – you know, the way it moves and the way it sounds, it’s so beautiful and powerful.

And I love, like, looking out a window over an expansive of green and trees. I just think trees are, you know, the most amazing pieces of construction. You know, nature is incredibly inspiring for me. When I write, windows are important! I want to have something to look at. You know, when I look up, I want to have a view and nature is such a wonderful view to have – looking at it, not being. I like to look at nature.

So, I don’t know, does that make me shallow? I don’t know what that makes me. I know it makes me happy. I’m going to go with that. Indoor plumbing, happy girl.

So, in today’s episode, I’m talking to someone who I’ve known online for years and have never met and yet still have never met but this is the first time we’ve had a person-person conversation. I wrote a newsletter about a 24-hour playwriting project years ago for Theatrefolk and Corey-Jan took that newsletter and ran with it.

So, let’s hear from Corey-Jan Albert.

Lindsay: Hello everyone! Welcome to the podcast and I am so happy to welcome Corey-Jan Albert. Hello, Corey-Jan!

Corey-Jan: Hey!

Lindsay: How are you?

Corey-Jan: I am doing great! How are you?

Lindsay: I’m doing pretty awesome. Our weather is just starting to get a little bit of Spring in, like, a fraction, a fragment of my corner of the world. And tell everybody where you are.

Corey-Jan: I am here in glorious Atlanta, Georgia.

Lindsay: Oh, so glorious. So, you have some better weather.

Corey-Jan: I’m afraid we do, 80 degrees and sunny today. But we do have five seasons which is Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall, and Yellow which is the pollen season so everybody is coughing and sneezing, but it’s gorgeous out.

Lindsay: So, they’re miserable but they’re warm.

Corey-Jan: Yes, they’re miserable but they’re enjoying the décor.

Lindsay: That’s awesome. And, Corey-Jan, we were talking about how we’ve sort of known each other for a pretty long time via the Internet, but this is the first time we’ve actually talked.

Corey-Jan: I know! I’m so excited!

Lindsay: And we’re sort of we know each other via playwriting which we’re going to get into in a second, but why don’t you tell everyone, so what’s your relationship with theatre? Where did that start?

Corey-Jan: Oh, my goodness. Well, I mean, it started as a small child getting completely bit by the theatre bug.

Lindsay: How so?

Corey-Jan: Well, I grew up in New York and I got to see a lot of shows growing up. I can’t remember not seeing them and I was probably about nine years old when someone pointed out that you could actually be one of those people up on stage and I loved it and got to do a lot of performing.

And then, when I was in college, I discovered that it was much more fun to tell everyone else what to say and do and not worry about having to learn the lines and that was how I discovered playwriting and worked with some other students when I was at Emory University and we created some good theatre. And then, I was really stuck because then I couldn’t not do it.

Lindsay: There’s always that point, isn’t there? When you realize that you always kind of want some connection with theatre in your life.

Corey-Jan: Oh, yeah, and the final nail was when I decided I was going to for an MFA and I was not accepted to the poetry program that I applied to, but the playwriting program welcomed me with open arms and I thought, “Well, you know, creative process is creative process,” an d I’m just so glad I did.

Lindsay: So, how long have you been writing plays?

Corey-Jan: Well, gosh. Probably 30 years?

Lindsay: Wow! That’s wonderful!

Corey-Jan: I’m old!

Lindsay: No, no, no, that wasn’t a… you know what, I realize how that came across when I said it like that. That was a marvelous sound because it just means you still love it, right?

Corey-Jan: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I can’t not do it.

Lindsay: That’s awesome. Now, another thing that you also do is that you work a lot with teenagers, right?

Corey-Jan: I do. I do. I teach playwriting and the creative process – mostly to teenagers, sometimes to younger kids, sometimes to adults, but teenagers have really turned out to be my sweet spot.

Lindsay: Why is that?

Corey-Jan: Gosh! I love teenagers! They are smart and their brains are still elastic and so they are willing to think outside their comfort zones and they’re thinking about things that are interesting – about identity and belonging and connection – and they let themselves be amused. And, you know, most teenagers are already starting to be in that place of getting squashed into these boxes of what they have to do and what they’re supposed to do, and here I’m giving them some of the big get-to-dos so it turns out to be a very fun, fun experience and I’m just wildly entertained by them. I always tell them that are way better than TV.

Lindsay: That’s awesome. So, let’s just talk about this for just a little second because a lot of our listeners are teachers who find teaching playwriting really challenging in the classroom. They know that it’s really important.

It’s my number one thing I say all the time, I say that it’s one of the main things that we should be putting in, particularly in the drama classroom, because it’s such an all-encompassing too, you know, with team building and self-expression and confidence. There’s all these things that you can put into writing a play.

Corey-Jan: Oh, yeah, and it’s a terrific support for schools’ literature and history departments and that is, you know, theatre and the arts are things that are becoming threatened in schools because they’re expensive and they feel like extras. No, no, no, they are outstanding adjunct supports and really learning aids for those other, you know, more ordinary departments, more usual departments. I don’t mean to make it sound ordinary; I love literature and history.

Lindsay: Well, the core subjects.

Corey-Jan: Yes, thank you. Core was the word I was looking for.

Lindsay: Oh, I hate it when I’m like, I know there’s a word on the tip of my tongue. I lose words all the time.

Those are the subjects that, you know, administratively seem to matter and I find I’m so on board with that that the arts, particularly, are great facilitators for learning these core subjects because not everybody learns the same way. I know that’s what everyone would like, but some people would like everybody learn the same way and it’s just not doable.

So, talk about what are a couple of things that are really key to teaching a teenager to write a play?

Corey-Jan: Well, one of the things that I do that’s different from a lot of other playwriting processes is that I don’t pull mostly from improv. Improv is great, but that’s not the only way to envision a scene.

And the other thing is that I tell them, “Don’t come with a plot already in mind.” Now, obviously, if you’re being a support to a history program, you know what happened in the history, but you don’t always know exactly what happened with the people. The thing that I tell them to start with is character and setting and I think that, if you have well-defined characters, that you know who they are, you can practically envision talking to them, you know people like that, and you have well-defined settings and you know a place where this is going to happen. If you’ve got those two components, you don’t have to worry about the plot because they story is going to tell itself. And so, that’s the basis that I begin with.

And the way that we create character and setting other than say, you know, “Make a caricature of a person you know,” – which I don’t want them to do – is I do character and setting exercises and that’s usually where we start. And, you know, there’s a lot of different things.

I ask them to bring in things sometimes. So, once I asked them to bring in a shoe you would never wear and that could be both a character or a setting exercise. So, as a character exercise, who would wear that shoe? What can we know about a person who would wear that shoe? What kinds of things does that person say? How do they walk? How do they act? All of those kinds of things that help you define who a character is. Or, as a setting, where would you see? Where would you find that shoe? Describe that place. What do you first notice about it? What becomes clear about it later? Is it light? Is it dark?

And so, you have all of those things put together and, from there, you leave the Barbie dolls and action figures at home. What I mean by that is you don’t make your characters do things; you let them do things. You wind them up and see how they interact. They’re going to tell the story that needs to be told.

Lindsay: That’s awesome. I really like the shoe exercise, mostly because it just gives a tangible and something they can hold as a jumping off point for writing.

Corey-Jan: Lindsay, you actually gave me the shoe exercise in a weird kind of way.

Lindsay: Well, aren’t I psychic?

Corey-Jan: No, it’s true! Because you were once writing about being part of a 24-hour play situation and you had to write a play right now and one of the lines that you had to include in the play was, “Now that you have my shoe, what are you going to do with it?” and that was where I got the idea for a shoe you would never wear.

Lindsay: That is so awesome, and you have just segued us perfectly into another project that you do when working specifically with teen playwrights is that you have been doing a 25-hour play project since I think you said it was 2007.

Corey-Jan: I think so. I think that is as far as it goes back. This is actually 2014 will be my eighth summer doing the 25-hour play project.

Lindsay: That’s wonderful.

Corey-Jan: Yeah, it’s been glorious and it is truly my favorite thing I get to do every year.

Lindsay: Okay. So, let’s start from stage one here – the logistics.

What is the 25-hour play project?

Corey-Jan: Okay. So, the 25-hour play project, it’s actually based on something that is more commonly done which is a 24-hour play in which you have writers, actors, and directors, and the writers write for, like, 7:00 pm till midnight, or 6:00 in the morning or something like that. And then, the directors take over while the playwrights collabs, and they are assigned plays and they cast them. And, at the end of the 24 hours straight, there are performances.

I do something a little bit different. It takes one week, five hours a day, and, on the first two days, using all different kinds of creativity building exercises and other sort of things that get people thinking outside of their brains, every kid writes a ten-minute play.

Then, on the third day, we read all the plays out loud and nobody is allowed to read their own play because I think that there are real benefits to hearing your work done by other people. And what we mostly do is talk about them as directors. So, if you’re not the playwright then you’re in a position to say, “Okay. With this play, what choices do you have? What could it look it? What kind of direction would you offer to your actors? What kinds of things would you be looking for from actors?”

And then, at the end of the day that day, the playwrights are allowed to make a few last changes to their plays. They have a couple of hours to rework things that maybe didn’t sound as right coming alive as they did on the page. At the end of that day, I do this amazing math trick and I assign everybody somebody else’s play to direct and then I sign them also to other people’s plays to act in and we have rehearsals on Thursday and Friday. And, at the end of the day Friday, we have stage reading performances.

Lindsay: So, is it a summer week project?

Corey-Jan: It is.

Lindsay: Yes. What a wonderful experience. I quite like this and the reason I wanted to talk about this is because this is something that you could easily do with a class in terms of we’re going to go from idea and we’re going to get to performance so that everybody’s involved in everything.

Corey-Jan: Yes, you can. The trick is actually I have a close friend who is a math teacher and she’s the one who pointed out that, in order to make this work really well, you just have to get the math right. So, that means that you can only have two characters in your play.

Lindsay: Yeah, it’s something that needs to be established and assigned on day one, isn’t it?

Corey-Jan: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. On day one, I give them certain criteria that they have to do.

Lindsay: Okay. So, lay out the criteria.

Corey-Jan: Okay. So, one of the criteria is that, you know, paraphrasing Monty Python, “The number of thy counting shall be two.” Once I allowed a playwright to do a three-character play because I had another playwright actor who was willing to be in three plays but, after it, it was too exhausting so I put two-character play.

And then, I also give them sort of – how can I say it? – touchstones. You know, key things that they have to include. So, some of them are things that will come out of the creativity building exercise that we did early on that just seemed like a warm-up exercise. But I’ll say, “Okay. All of these lines that we came up with here, you have to include one of those lines in your play.”

And then, if I ask them to bring something in – like, for example the shoe – the shoe has to make an appearance somewhere in your play, or sometimes I will ask them to come in with something that I want them to write ahead of time. Like, once I asked them to come up with a time of day and what it would say if it could speak. So, one of those lines will have to appear in the play. So, some things that give it just a little bit of structure, but not so much structure that I’m telling them what to write.

Lindsay: I was going to say – I think you’ve just answered my question but – we know why the characters are so important because of the math. What do you think these touchstones, how do they help them write? Structure, what else?

Corey-Jan: Well, it goes back, I think, to a concept that’s really well described in a William Blake poem that pulls together this idea of fire and stone. And fire, all by itself, is like creativity and, just all by itself, it’s all over the place and you don’t know where to take it, you don’t know where to go. Stone all by itself, well, that just sits there. But, if you put the two of them together then you can channel that creativity and you can give it things to bounce off of and you can give it something to keep that blank page from being intimidating because you have things that you have to include. So, how am I going to work with this? How does this fit in? What does it suggest to me?

Lindsay: I find, particularly with student writers, is that the more that you can provide for them – again, just as you said, you’re not writing it for them, you’re just giving them “touchstones” I think is a really good word – the more creative they become.

Corey-Jan: Absolutely. I find that to be true.

The other thing that I do is, while they are writing – and sometimes they’ll write in a room that doesn’t have anything going on – sometimes I’ll put on music in the background, but usually just something that isn’t going to get in their way. If I put on music, it’s only instrumental.

But what I will do from time to time – and this is something that one of my favorite teachers when I was doing my master’s program used to do is – while they are writing, I will call out a couple of lines that could go anywhere, that could be part of any play, and they’re just the kind of lines that give open ended things so that, if you’re stuck, you have something that you can pick up on and being stuck doesn’t become its own impediment.

So, the kinds of lines that I might throw out are things like, “Really? What do you mean by that?” or something like, “I never thought about it that way,” or something like that so that it’s just another thing that they can bounce their own thoughts and their own thought process off of.

Lindsay: Do you find that, in this process, students get stuck a lot?

Corey-Jan: No.

Lindsay: Why do you think so?

Corey-Jan: I don’t, but every once in a while, they do and sometimes, when they find themselves stuck, it scares them and it scares them to the point of paralysis and I never want that to happen.

One year that I did the play project, we got to, oh, I guess we were about three-quarters through the first day and I had three kids come up to me saying, “Ugh. It’s not working. I don’t know what I’m doing here. This is a mess. This is crazy,” and I said, “Okay. We’re going to do something completely different,” and I got them all into a room and I said, “How do you get a cat off a roof?” and they all looked at me and I said, “No, seriously. If you have a cat on the roof, how do you get it off?” and they say, “Well, I don’t know, you call the fire department.” I write down “fire department” on the wall and I ask, “How else?” and pretty soon they’re going nuts. They’re saying put cat food on the floor, you send a dog up.

You know, there were a million different things that they came up with – each more crazy than the next. And what it did was it did two things: it broke that feeling of paralysis and then I told them – and this is true – I said, “Now, I will let you know that you have all just performed a magic trick because up on that wall, somewhere, is the answer to the problem that you’re encountering with your play,” and sure enough, one of them said, “Oh, my god. There’s a fire! That’s what’s happening! There’s a fire behind that door!” or something like that. And it all just opens up.

Lindsay: I love that exercise.

Corey-Jan: Oh, use it!

Lindsay: Uh, okay!

Why is it important that teenagers write?

Corey-Jan: I don’t know that I’ve ever thought about why it’s important that teenagers write. I almost say, “Why is it important that human beings write?” I think that writing is just such a basic form of self-expression and it’s also one of those things that has such a tangible achievement attached to it and especially in a time period when most teenagers are going through these feelings of “Who am I?” and “Do I belong?” and “Where do I belong?” and “What are we doing here anyway?” that being able to write and being able to tell the stories that are making up life, I think that that really empowers them and it gives them something against which to think about all of these wacky ideas that are suddenly becoming so important in their lives.

Lindsay: I think that the finished product of a play, I’ve never failed to see how prideful a teenager is when they can get to the end of play successfully. I love being a part of that, I think.

Corey-Jan: Me, too. In fact, the thing that I love about the 25-hour play project is that not only do you have that finished product of a play but you also get to see it done, you get to hear your words being spoken by your characters so that, you know, I always joke… I have a few things that I tell kids at the very beginning of any class and one of them is that we will have no Emily Dickensons here; no one is going to die with their work neatly tied up in a ribbon.

Lindsay: There’s going to be no Eugune O’Neills – you put your play in a drawer and say, “Don’t put this up till I’m dead.”

Corey-Jan: That’s right! No, no, no, it’s never going to happen that way because, like, it’s really important. So, that’s one of the things that I tell them.

And then, the other thing that I tell them, which especially in the 25-hour play project is really important, is I ask them at the beginning of the program, I say, “Who in this room would say that they have perhaps the tiniest bit of what’s called a perfectionist streak?” and, usually, 75 percent of the kids raise their hands and I say, “Okay. Now that your hand is up, I would like you to extend your fingers to the ceiling. Now, I want you to point them down to the floor. Now, extend them back up to the ceiling and now back to the floor. That is you waving goodbye to your perfectionist streak for the week because there is no room for it here. What you have is not going to be perfect but it can be powerful and it can be important and that’s what you’re going to be doing.”

Lindsay: Yeah, if we can get kids to just get, it’s that whole notion of, well, also that plays come fully formed and that they’re perfect. They come out of your head like a perfect little shiny ball and then they land on the page and it’s like, “Ah! That’s how playwriting works!” and it’s like, “Well, not really.”

Corey-Jan: Yeah. Well, who is it that said writing is rewriting?

Lindsay: Any good person.

Corey-Jan: Yeah! Because it is and, you know, so much of what you get out there at the beginning is that’s just your toy box. And then, once you have your toy box, well, then you decide which toys you’re going to play with and which toys perhaps you don’t have to play with and which ones are really telling your story.

Lindsay: Well, let’s talk about that for a second. So, how in this project do you deal with rewrites? Because it must be a big “woosh” to get that first draft in so then how do you get the students to go to conceptualize it? “No, no, we’re not done. We need to go back and keep working this piece.”

Corey-Jan: Oh. You know, honestly, I’ve never had a problem with that because, since what usually drives the rewriting is hearing your work out loud by somebody else, that will always drive what needs to happen because you will listen to your lines and there will be some lines you’ll hear that you’ll say, “Oh, that sounded really different in my head. How do I have to write that so that it’s clear that this is a funny line or so that it’s clear that this is not a funny line?”

Other times, they’ll hear something that they wrote that they thought was a throw-away line and, all of a sudden, it’s telling you something about these characters that you didn’t realize and now you really have to make that clearer.

Additionally, you’ll get input from people who want to direct this play and who’ll say, “Oh, if I was directing this play, I would really want to do this,” and you’ll say, “Wow! That’s a good idea. I think I want to make easier for you to do that so I’m going to write some lines here that give you some of that to play with.”

Lindsay: Do you work really hard to set up a community experience?

Corey-Jan: Absolutely.

Lindsay: What are some things you do?

Corey-Jan: Well, a lot of it is some of those creativity building exercises that we do at the beginning that give everyone the opportunity to get to know each other.

The other thing that I do and I’m so glad that you’ve asked this because it is so important and I think that there is not an environment in the world that can’t benefit from it is I do a whole bit on what is constructive criticism because what most people think is constructive criticism isn’t.

You know, first thing I’ll do is I’ll say, “Okay. Give me an example of really dreadful constructive criticism.” So, that’s where we get out of the way “oh, that was awful!” or “you know, you should just start over completely.” That’s obviously not constructive criticism.

But then, I’ll say, “Okay. Give me an example of actual constructive criticism,” and someone invariably will say, “I really liked the way you defined your characters but…” and as soon as I hear that word “but,” I stop them and I say, “Okay. You’ve just uttered a word that I don’t want to hear in this room ever again.”

And they say, “But how can you do it?” I’m like, “Okay. How can you do it?” and we start to work on how do you think about the kind of feedback you give to people so that what you’re really doing is not telling them what didn’t work and what you didn’t like but telling them what did work and what can make it even stronger. And, by giving them that kind of a framework and that kind of language to work with, it really gives them that ability to work together as a community and it establishes the fact that because we’re going to be listening to all of each other’s work and all of us are going to be entrusting our work to somebody else in this room, well, we better learn to trust each other. And so, we do different kinds of things that establish that trust.

Lindsay: It must help too to sort of waylay any playwrights who are overly precious or who don’t want to change it if they can see everybody working in a community fashion.

Corey-Jan: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, and I definitely have some playwrights who I’ve worked with multiple times who have a bit of that “this is my baby, please, don’t touch it.”

In fact, when I was working with a group of teenagers – over the past couple of years, I’ve worked with a group of teenagers on something called By Wheel and By Wing which was an original full-length musical based on the true story of a Jewish family’s survival of World War II in a very unusual way – and, when I was working with them, I had some kids who just were like, “Ah, this is my baby, don’t touch it,” and what we had to be able to do was say, “Okay. I want you to think about this…”

“If you’re going to think about this as your baby, well, sometimes your baby has to go to school. If all you do is keep your baby close to you, if your parents just kept you completely close to them and never let you interact with anybody else, you would not be nearly the interesting, powerful, capable person that you are today. So, think about the input that you’re getting from everybody else as sending your child to school. You’re still mommy; you still have ultimate authority. But some of these other people, they really have some good stuff to contribute.”

Lindsay: That’s a really great visual. I think that’s something that, you know, because so many of us do say that, it’s like, “Uh, this is my baby, this is my baby.” It’s like, “Okay. Well, if we’re going to go with that image, this is what needs to happen,” I think it would be really hard to argue with that reasoning, you know?

Corey-Jan: Yeah. Well, I hope that’s the case.

Lindsay: So, just as we wrap up here. So, think about three pieces of advice. So, if we have teachers who are still, you know, thinking about “I really want to include a project, a playwriting project with my students,” this whole notion of the 25-hour where you just sort of, you know, you break it up into segments, working on the notion of community, and actually having a performance at the end which I think is so key, what are three pieces of advice you would give to teachers to take this on?

Corey-Jan: Well, first of all, go for it. Do it. It’s something that definitely can be done.

Secondly, develop a plan without feeling like you have to control it, and most theatre professionals, and most teachers that I know are really pretty good with the sort of organized chaos of a classroom so I don’t usually but sometimes people start to think in terms of “I have to control every moment” and you really don’t. You know, let it go, but establish those touch points. Know that on the first ten hours, this is when writing is going to happen. So, if they’re going to write in the first ten hours, well, around hour five, you want to see how everybody’s doing and then figure out what everyone needs in order to get from five to ten.

And, third piece of practice advice, I think that the last piece of advice that I would give has to do with the old saw of “write what you know” and a lot of people think that “write what you know” means replicate the experience exactly as it happened to you. What I would encourage educators to do is to think about

“write what you know” as “write what you know emotionally” – write what you know in your heart, write what you know in terms of how real people interact, and that’s something that I would encourage them to keep in mind as they are helping their students.

Lindsay: That must have been really helpful when you were working with your student writers on the World War II project.

Corey-Jan: Oh, yes. Oh, very much so. In fact, that was one of the things that we actually had to have a conversation with the surviving family members about saying that “we are not making a documentary so some elements of the show are not going to happen exactly as you remember experiencing them but we promise to have emotional integrity,” because, if you’re having emotional integrity, you’re going to have good theatre. And the kids were able to reconstruct and to develop and to drive these characters forward in a way that had a lot of emotional integrity because they understood the situations that they were finding themselves in but they also understood who these people were and, therefore, how they would respond, what they would say and do, and, ultimately, how they would survive this experience.

Lindsay: Awesome. Okay. So, let’s make sure we give a little plug where people can find that before I let you go, By Wheel and By Wing.

Corey-Jan: Oh, they can find By Wheel and By Wing at They can also find out a little bit more about the 25-hour play project, they can reach out to me directly, I am easily found on Facebook. I’m the only Corey-Jan Albert anybody knows and I would love to connect with anybody who is interested in pursuing any of the stuff I’m talking about further.

Lindsay: Awesome. And we’re also going to make sure that we will put information in the show notes for this episode.

Corey-Jan: Hooray!

Lindsay: Oh, that was so great to be able to talk – to talk about, well, my favorite subject which is teenagers writing plays – and thank you so much!

Corey-Jan: Oh, Lindsay, it’s been such a pleasure. I’m a huge Theatrefolk fan.

Lindsay: Sweet! All right. Thanks, Corey-Jan!

Corey-Jan: See ya!

Thank you, Corey-Jan!

Don’t forget: show notes for this episode are at

Okay. So, before we go, let’s do some THEATREFOLK NEWS.

It’s a play feature! It’s a play feature! It’s time to feature a play!

“So, day after day, they came to me. That’s the problem with being the best. You get to feel like a birthday cake at a four-year-old’s party – everyone wants a piece o’ ya.”

Today, I’m talking about A Lighter Shade of Noir by Patrick Derksen. As you can guess by my peculiar rendition and the title, there is a film noir tone to this play. But, of course, it is a lighter shade.

And so, what we’ve got is this hilarious comedy. Trent Trowel is your typical gumshoe – always talking in those smoky high-styled asides, except for the fact that everyone can hear him. The play has the world’s top PIs gathered together at a gala with their sidekicks in tow. But, of course, this is no ordinary gala. Is there such a thing as an ordinary gala? Someone has set up the PIs to be pinned for a major crime, and with so many mystery-solving egos in the same room, it’s not certain how they’re going to get out of it.

Great characters, great humor, and a really great look at a very specific style that we don’t often see in theatre – go to and check out A Lighter Shade of Noir. Do it.

Finally, where, oh, where can you find this podcast? We post new episodes every Wednesday at and on our Facebook page and Twitter. You can find us on You can find us on the Stitcher app and you can subscribe to TFP on iTunes. All you have to do is search on the word “Theatrefolk.”

And that’s where we’re going to end. Take care, my friends. Take care.

Music credit: ”Ave” by Alex (feat. Morusque) is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Products referenced in this post: A Lighter Shade of Noir

Related Articles

Middle School Theatre in a Rural Community
Middle School Theatre in a Rural Community
Noir is the New Black: A Lighter Shade of Noir
Noir is the New Black: A Lighter Shade of Noir
Theatrefolk’s Top 10: Plays to Stretch Your Tech
Theatrefolk’s Top 10: Plays to Stretch Your Tech

Enjoy a Front Row Seat to Our Newsletter!

Subscribe for our exciting updates, insights, teaching resources, and new script releases. Plus, sign up now and get 4 plays and 2 lesson plans for FREE!

Theatrefolk - The Drama Teacher Resource Company
Theatrefolk is the Drama Teacher Resource Company. We are your one stop shop for Plays, Resources, and Curriculum Support - all specifically designed for High School and Middle School drama teachers.
Follow Us!
Drama Teacher Academy
Copyright © 1995-2024