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Volume 71, Issue 135, Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Life & Arts

'15 Hours' almost never happened

Completing first play was like having a baby, senior says

The Daily Cougar

The Edward Albee Playwright Workshop performances will continue with theater senior Chris Rivera's 15 Hours in a Green World at 7:30 p.m. today in the Jose Quintero Lab Theatre in the Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre. 

Daryl Banner's Secret Place and Greg Hundemer's Smitten will also run today. All playwrights are students in the Albee workshop program, which was overseen this year by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson. 

Rivera has worked as an actor, director and stage designer. 

"I use what I know as an actor, which is really thinking about characters and thinking about people," Rivera said. 

The play, which is about a group of people trapped in a bed and breakfast in Mexico during a tropical storm, was written during the Hurricane Rita evacuations, but Rivera almost did not complete the play. 

"I thought it was going to be like everything else, which was thrown out the window," Rivera said. 

Soo-Jin Lee, a playwright who was in the program last year and a friend of Rivera, urged Rivera to finish the play after she had read the first two scenes. 

"When I told her my ideas, she and a doctorate student both said, ‘You have got to write it, you have got to finish it,'" Rivera said. "So (during) the three days (UH officials) cancelled school so everyone could get back, I wrote the rest of the play." 

Rivera has experience in writing poetry and short stories, but his first attempts at writing plays were not successful. 15 Hours in a Green World is his first completed play. 

"I created four people first off and put them in a situation together and then let them kind of interact in my head," Rivera said. 

After the completion of his first play, Rivera said that he thinks the process of playwriting will become easier. 

"I imagine it's kind of like a first child," Rivera said. "Once you have the first, the birth is easier."

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