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FORT MYERS, FL (November 11,  2019) – The 24-Hour Playwriting Project is back again at The Laboratory Theater of Florida on November 23rd.
A perennial favorite, the premise is simple – take four playwrights, lock them the theater overnight to create a show that will be performed on stage the very next evening. They are given a series of items, costumes, sounds, and lines that must be included, all before learning the overarching theme of the play. Following a sleepless night of writing, they meet their directors after breakfast for some edits and then their scripts are whisked away to be printed. At lunch, they meet the actors who will be performing their work. A few hours later, the curtain rises. The winner is determined by both the audience and a panel of professional judges.
The project is coordinated again this year by past winner Char Loomis who says, “When Annette and I met to create this year’s theme we couldn’t stop laughing from beginning to end. I’m excited to see what this year’s writers will produce!”
This year’s playwrights are Aricka Shuck, Kayleigh O’Connell, Darlyne Franklin, and Candice Sanzari.
Aricka Shuck studied Theatre Performance at Oakland University. She has performed in over 40 theatrical productions since the age of 6. This is her second time competing in the 24 Hour Playwriting Contest.
Kayleigh O’Connell is an aspiring playwright who has been honored to work in theatre for twenty years and has done everything from performing, set design, stage managing – and now playwriting. She is overjoyed to have experienced storytelling in many facets. Previous work includes Andorra, Crimes of The Heart, Sordid Lives and Whatever Happened To Baby Jane. You can find her next at the Alliance for the Arts in Vampire Lesbians of Sodom or wherever books are sold. She says, “Storytelling is the thread that connects us with our past, ourselves and most vitally with each other. It is the first language we shared before mathematics and science. It is so crucial to honor the oral tradition and theatre has allowed me to be a part of that legacy. The 24 Hour Playwriting Project presents a fascinating challenge as well as a truly communal experience with my fellow playwrights. Having been on the other side of this process as an actor, I truly value the collaboration and look forward to forging the work with my director and actors.”
Darlyne Franklin was born and raised in Boston MA. She came to visit Naples 15 years ago – after being a snowbird, she decided to stay and become a resident. In 1992, she wrote and produced Joey & Maria’s Comedy Italian Wedding.  This show has enjoyed a tremendously successful run, being in continuous production for over 20 years. She also created additional interactive shows such as The Wake of Matty O’Malley, Wicked Real Housewives of the Mob and The Soprano’s Last Supper, which were performed in Las Vegas venues for over ten years. She is in mentioned in Webster’s online Dictionary under “dinner theater” and was featured in a question on the TV game show Jeopardy. When asked about this year’s competition, Darlyne said, “I love the challenge of writing a short play with prompts and limits and in 24 hours seeing it come to life on the stage.”
Candice Sanzari is an emerging playwright. Her previous works include Dead Weight, Trash Talk and Other Damages, and Thanksgiving is for Nutters, which earned her Critics’ Choice in Lab’s 2018 24-Hour Playwriting Project. She is currently adapting her first full-length play, I Became Us, into a screenplay. When Candice isn’t writing, she’s furthering her training in Krav Maga, dabbling more in film, and possibly making some questionable life choices.
Returning judge Nykkie Rizley says, “There is a reason I’ve been a judge every year for the show rather than being part of its creation. Simply, I don’t want to know any of the secrets. I want to be in awe like the rest of the audience. There is the most amazing energy when you walk into that theater, just before the artists reveal what’s been brewing for the last 24 hours. It’s surreal and honest, excitement and fatigue, nervousness and longing. It’s just really incredible and it is my favorite night of the year.”
Listed as one of Naples Daily News Must-Do Bucket List events, this production sells out every year. This event is graciously sponsored by Stacy Lee-Williams.
Join us for a night of zany hilarity on Saturday,  November 23rd at 8 pm. Tickets are available online at or by calling 239.218.0481
The Laboratory Theater of Florida, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is dedicated to the promotion of the performing arts, through live performance, education, community outreach, experimentation, and the development of ensemble work. The company features ensemble productions, produces classic works, takes artistic risks, which both feature and challenge local performers. For more information visit or the physical location at 1634 Woodford Avenue, in the Fort Myers River District.

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