Raúl Esparza, J. Smith-Cameron, and more stage favorites joined the June 16 edition of The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues. The videos benefit Juxtaposition Arts, a teen-staffed art and design center based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that has played a critical role in building community alternatives to the police, led by Black, POCI, and other youth.
Joining Esparza and Smith-Cameron as performers were Frankie J. Alvarez, Raúl Castillo, April Matthis, Jaime Ray Newman & Patch Darragh, Bojana Novakovic, Maria-Christina Oliveras, and Mariama Whyte.
They performed works by Matt Barbot, Clay McLeod Chapman, David Cote, Chisa Hutchinson, Garlia Cornelia Jones, David Lindsay-Abaire, Tony Meneses, Audley Puglisi, and Steve Yockey.
The process began June 15 at 6 PM, when actors shared orientation-style videos to allow the writers to get to know them better. By 7 PM, writers and actors were paired, and writers went to work crafting new monologues. Actors received their monologues the following morning and filmed their performances throughout the day. The 24-hour cycle was completed with the launch of the first video.
A recent edition of Viral Monologues was “Fists Up/Underlying Conditions,” to raise money for Communities United For Police Reform. A May 12 collaboration on the intersection of COVID-19 and incarceration featured Rebecca Naomi Jones and André De Shields, while another challenged performers to present a musical monologue, with Daveed Diggs, John Gallagher, Jr., Sarah Steele, and more joining in.
Coleman Ray Clark and Madelyn Paquette serve as producers for The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues, with Mark Armstrong as artistic director.