Popular writing contest morphs into 8,760 hour marathon

Hold the coffee! Nakai’s 24-Hour-Playwriting Contest is cancelled. The popular writing marathon — which saw wanna-be playwrights…

Hold the coffee! Nakai’s 24-Hour-Playwriting Contest is cancelled.

The popular writing marathon — which saw wanna-be playwrights secluded in a hotel room for, well, 24 hours — has been suspended for a year, said Nakai’s artistic director David Skelton.

The theatre company lacks the resources to hold it this year, he said.

“It’s a fabulous event,” he said. “It’s a shame that it’s not happening,”

“We just don’t have the money.”

The contest usually costs about $6,000.

It may not sound like a lot, but the theatre group is always operating on the financial edge, said Skelton.

And this year there just wasn’t enough to go around.

“It was definitely not something we wanted to lose.”

The theatre searched for additional funds, but two months ago decided to focus on its other activities.

Nakai’s main activities for this year are Celia McBride’s So Many Doors, The Nakai for Kids Festival, the Pivot Festival and the Home Grown Festival.

The Home Grown Festival still gives those aspiring playwrights, and anyone in the Yukon performance community, a chance to show their stuff.

The festival, which takes place in May, is open to everybody.

“If you want to try it, we want to support it,” said Skelton.

“There’s been a lot of great stuff in the past… and there’s been a lot of questionable stuff as well.”

Performers are able to stage short plays, read poetry, tell stories or play music.

They are given a maximum of half an hour so that audiences are able to see four to six performances in one night — and don’t have to sit too long through the “questionable stuff.”

The audience pays for the show, but is also encouraged to tip the acts they’ve enjoyed the most.

Like buskers, the performers only know how well the show went by the amount of money left in their hats.

However, it may be more difficult to write these performances without the incentive of a locked hotel room and a bottomless pot of coffee.

Of course, they can always wait until next year when the 24-Hour Playwriting Contest will be back on.

“The contest has been important for Nakai, and it’s still important,” said Skelton.

“The contest still has a place in our heart.”