"The first one [was] 30 Dates, and then the next one was 30 Loves. and the next was 30 Trips," says artistic director Leng Wong about Lucky Chaos Productions' ongoing series of short plays. For their fourth entry in the '30 Somethings' series (and the first one since 2015), the company is looking at the subject of heroes and heroism.
"I was looking around, and you know... the environment we're in right now, everything everyday is just so overwhelming to me. So I thought, 'You know what, I kind of think about the word hero a lot lately. Let's just dive into that topic.'" That's why this month, Lucky Chaos is presenting 30 Heroes in 60 Minutes.
As was the case with the previous '30 Somethings' shows, 30 Heroes in 60 Minutes is a devised piece, created by the cast in a series of workshops and rehearsals. "Leng obviously is the ringleader," says ensemble member Hollis Lapree Edwards III. "And she'll kind of direct us as far as, 'Hey, we're trying to get this kind of feeling out of it right now.... or what ideas about heroism in general do you guys have?'"
All the cast members pitched ideas for short plays about various heroes, both real (such as family members, firefighters, and members of the military) and fictional (Edwards' personal hero is Vegeta from the anime series Dragonball Z). From that, they created the 30 mini plays that will make up the one-hour show.
Lucky Chaos is pretty serious about that one-hour runtime -- they'll have a timer on stage to keep themselves honest -- but they can't guarantee that audiences will get to see all 30 plays. Rather than stage all 30 in a predetermined order, they'll rely on the audience to call out numbers during the show to pick which play will be performed next. "We don't know what we're supposed to do next until you tell us," Wong says. "And if you're sort of lollygagging, then hey, you may not see all the plays. And we are sad and you are sad and we are sad that you are sad."
Ultimately, Wong and her cast are hoping that the play will give its audience a bit of hope and a bit of joy. "The moment they leave, I want them to feel a little lighter than we they came in," she says. "Because it was fun, because it was a shared experience, because they got to see a lot of things that they were thinking of... being discussed in a public space, and feel a sense of community."