Kenneth Lonergan, Marcia Gay Harden and Zosia Mamet will partake in the next round of the ongoing livestream series The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues, with this installment raising money for the Release Aging People in Prison campaign.
The Viral Monologues series presents a unique challenge to top playwrights and actors: Each writer is paired with a performer and they’re tasked with writing, rehearsing, producing and performing a new piece in just 24 hours.
Along with Gay Harden and Mamet, the performers for this round include Anna Baryshnikov, Jonathan Burke, Mia Ellis, Ato Essandoh, Mark Ivanir, Jamie Neumann, Jon Rua, Saycon Sengbloh and Jeorge Bennett Watson. Although the specific pairings haven’t been announced yet, they’ll perform pieces by Lonergan, Zakiyyah Alexander, Jessica Goldberg, David Lindsay-Abaire, Sam Marks, Cat Miller, Lina Patel, Jonathan Payne, Christopher Oscar Peña, Liza Jessie Peterson and Steve Yockey.
The process for this round began Monday night at 6 p.m. when all the actors shared introductory videos so the writers could get to know them. The pairings were finalized by 7 p.m. and the writers spent the night crafting a specialized monologue for their performers, which were sent out by 10 a.m. Tuesday. Performances are being filmed and refined now, and when the show starts at 6 p.m. ET, a new monologue will drop every 15 minutes. Following the show, each monologue will be available to view for the next four days.
This round of Viral Monologues will benefit Release Aging People in Prison, which is working to end mass incarceration and promote racial justice by advocating for the release of elderly people and those serving longer sentences. The cause has particular resonance during COVID-19, as prisons have become hotbeds for the virus and elderly inmates are among the most susceptible to the disease.