'48HOURS IN...™ DETROIT' presents 10-minute plays Sunday

Michael H. Hodges
The Detroit News
Iraqi-American playwright Heather Raffo will be one of the writers taking part in Sunday's "48HOURS IN...™ DETROIT" with the Detroit Public Theatre.

On Sunday, the Detroit Public Theatre and Harlem9 will present "48HOURS IN...™ DETROIT," a most unusual theater event in which six playwrights each present 10-minute plays telling Detroit stories. 

The starting point for each brief work will come from a half-dozen poems by luminaries like Melba Joyce Boyd and M.L. Liebler. With those literary muses as inspiration, the writers will get 12 hours -- from 8:30 p.m. Friday till 8:30 the next morning -- to craft their dramatic works. 

It's going to be a high-intensity weekend. Directors and actors will then have just a little over 24 hours to memorize and perfect the performances. 

"Technically," said DPT co-producing artistic director Sarah Winkler, "it really is exactly 48 hours."

Harlem9 launched the concept in 2011. This is their inaugural production outside the Big Apple, engineered in large part by Harlem9 producer Garlia Cornelia Jones. She's originally from the Motor City, and has spent the last two summers here researching and collaborating with Detroit artists. 

Participating playwrights, all of whom have Detroit connections, are Jessica Care Moore, Heather Raffo, Shawntai Brown, Jonathan Johnson, Jacob Smith and Sean Paraventi. 

Other poets represented include Jamaal May, Joel Fluent Greene, Philip Levine and Natasha T. Miller. 

The productions were funded by a grant from the Knight Foundation, matched by the Downtown Detroit Partnership and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.'s Michigan Film and Digital Media Office. 

"We just found out like two months ago that we had the money and this window of time in July," Winkler said. "So the whole thing has been really fast and exciting."

Sunday's performances will be at Wayne State University's Maggie Allesee Studio Theater.


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7 p.m. & 9 p.m. showtimes

Maggie Allesee Studio Theater, 480 W. Hancock, Detroit 

Tickets: $10 online, $15 at the door