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Suzan-Lori Parks offers a play a day

Oprah may know how to get the whole country reading the same book, but Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks has come up with a way to get it performing the same plays, week after week, for an entire year.

From Nov. 13, 2002, to Nov. 12, 2003, Parks wrote a short play each day. Now comes “365 days/365 plays,” conceived and produced by Parks and Bonnie Metzgar. Billed as the largest theatrical collaboration in U.S. history, hundreds of theater companies around the nation will team to make sure that each play is staged on its fourth birthday -- or at least during its birthday week -- starting Nov. 13, 2006.

In L.A., Center Theatre Group will take the first and last weeks and recruit 50 other troupes to handle a week’s worth of the rest.

In fact, nearly the whole shebang has been seen already in L.A., after a fashion: Parks wrote the work while heading CalArts’ playwriting program, with an eye toward delivering it in time for the Nov. 15, 2003, opening of REDCAT at Disney Hall. During the 24-hour opening celebration, a Lucite-encased printer ran continuously, spewing out a page a minute of her year’s labor. After more than 1,400 pages, the celebration ended with the full script not yet done.

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Parks plans to meet with interested L.A. thespians at CTG’s downtown annex next week, mapping out a plan for bringing it all back home.


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