There was an atmosphere reminiscent of the first day of summer camp late Sunday evening as the actors began to arrive at the American Airlines Theater. The stars introduced themselves, often times with a reserved awkwardness. “Hi, I’m Jesse,” Jesse Eisenberg said, introducing himself to Megan Fox. “Hi,” she responded.
It was orientation for the 24 Hour Plays, a charitable performance benefiting the Urban Arts Partnership. Over the course of that night and the next day, six individual plays would be written, cast, rehearsed and performed in front of a live audience. Several of the actors were noticeably nervous.
After an enthusiastic introduction by the North American CEO of Montblanc, which underwrote (pun intended) the evening, the actors were asked to introduce themselves, place a prop or costume in the middle of the room, describe a special talent and explain something they had always wanted to do on stage.
Some of the talent clearly put considerable thought into their prop and costume. Lake Bell brought a bag of shredded money (apparently un-ironically), and David Cross produced a mistranslated Parisian T-shirt reading “Keep Hustling, Get Your Chalupas Right!” Sarah Silverman proffered a flask (unfilled, it seemed). Justin Bartha added a motorcycle helmet to the growing pile.
Others had clearly procured their props en route to orientation. Jason Biggs admitted to stealing the robe from his hotel room for his costume, while John Krasinski produced several “I Heart NY” T’s, and other related tourist paraphernalia.
Ms. Fox brought a Bop It, which she described, “for those who were born before ’86,” as an interactive version of the game Simon Her talent? “I can dance but I’d rather not do that,” she told the group before settling into her seat.
Mr. Eisenberg, who brought a plush giraffe which makes soothing noises as his prop, expressed his theatrical aspirations. “I’ve never gotten a haircut on stage. Or given one,” he said as the group chuckled dutifully.