Ojai-5 Comes to Ojai WordFest!

by czhosterman on March 14, 2011

Theater buffs will have a chance to see five plays emerge from idea to performance in one day of organized artistic mayhem. The first ever Ojai-5 is slated for March 26th, 2011. Part of the 1st Annual Ojai WordFest, a nine day festival of words, ideas and stories taking place in and around Ojai from March 19-27, the Ojai-5 is a mad dash to write, stage and perform five new plays in one day.

“It’s a crazy idea, but it just might work,” says Steve Grumette with a twinkle in his eye, local actor and director, who is planning to take part in the “play in a day” project. “It will be a lot of fun… I think.”

It works like this: five writers (or writing teams) will start at seven AM, each receiving the photographs of two participating actors and a writing prompt. They will have five hours to write five short plays. At noon, the five plays will be handed over to five directors, and the five pairs of actors. These five teams will have five hours to rehearse the five plays, and after a dinner break, the five newly-minted productions will be performed before a live audience. And the ticket price? Five dollars, of course. The whole thing takes place at Theater 150.

This is not an entirely new idea. John Ruskin, part-time Ojai resident, and owner of the Ruskin Group Theater in Santa Monica, calls them “Café Plays” and does them monthly.  “My girlfriend and I went to see Café Plays last year, and we just knew we had to find a way to do this in Ojai,” saysTom Hardy, producer of the Ojai-5. “It seemed a perfect fit for Ojai WordFest, so we got busy.”

What is new, however, is what Hardy and his team are calling “transparent theater.” The public is invited to be part of the entire process. A limited number of “backstage passes” will be available for sale, which will grant full access to the theater while the writing and directing are taking place. This includes, of course, full access to the food (catered by Jim and Rob’s) and the copious amounts of Ojai Coffee Roasting Company coffee which will fuel the process.

“We are still looking for a few more actors, directors and writers,” says Hardy, “Not everyone likes working so fast, but it really appeals to a lot of theater people. It’s immediate gratification. Because of the time constraints, it’s more about the process, and in some ways having the pressure on, takes the pressure off.”

Not to add to the pressure, but the entire day will be filmed by crews headed up by local film-maker Trevor Lare, for a documentary he is producing about the event.

For more information, or to take part in the Ojai-5, please contact Tom Hardy 640-0500, or tom@hardymotorsports.com. For more information about Ojai WordFest, please visit OjaiWordFest.com

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