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100 Hours of Stories

The Guinness Book of Records for staying awake is 264 hours. Whoever did that must be cutting out paper dolls in an institution.

The oldest person in the world is 116, sayeth the G-Book, and she allegedly smokes filter-less cigarettes.

In theater:

1 - Fastest Theatrical Production – choice of play, production meetings, auditions, rehearsals, creation of set and costumes, to opening night: 22 hours, by the Youth Theatre Performers, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex: March 31 to April 1, 2012. Guinness says: “the performance lasted one hour, 43 minutes, and 39 seconds and received a standing ovation.”

2 - Longest Performance of a Single Play: From October 25 through October 27, 2013, the Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga staged Eugene Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano over and over and over for 30 straight hours. In a way the choice works, since the 37 page script concludes by pointing back to the beginning.

Guinness is strict about these matters. They demanded an official timekeeper, video recording of the event, and witness-statements by “professionals in the field of theater.”

3 - Longest Consecutive Theatrical Performance. A company in India once performed non-stop for 72 hours. BUT WAIT!

Starting Thursday, May 8 at 6:00 p.m. Lamb’s Players Theatre will assault that record. The company will stage-read and sing 50 different plays and musicals for 100 hours straight. That’s on and off, actors and musicians — no breaks.

No. It’s not “They Shoot Actors, Don’t They?” The marathon will celebrate Lamb’s 20th year in Coronado and raise funds for future productions.

There’s a reason why records make the Guinness Book: they’re mad, I say, MAD!!!

“As we suspected,” says Robert Smyth, Artistic Director of Lamb’s, “this is turning out to be more work than we first envisioned.”

The devil’s the details inside the details: “tracking down clean copies of the actual performances we ended up doing; which stage directions should be read to aid the audience; all the printing.”

Not to mention “the front of house/café personnel, and the official witnesses and time keepers, and complete, continuous taping of the presenters.”

Plus, “securing cots and an aero-bed for backstage sleep time.”

70 actors volunteered, at least 100 will perform, and the community has embraced the idea. But to make the record official, Lamb’s must have a “core” of 20 actors perform the bulk of the time.

“They’ll have a chance to grab food and shut-eye when they aren’t in the play or musical being read,” says Smyth.

Here’s where you come in. Do you hold any Guinness records? (If you do, seek professional help NOW!)

For Lamb’s to succeed, Guinness also demands at least 20 people in the audience at all times. And as with the presenters, they’ll videotape the house the entire time.

Lamb’s is looking for “Official Guinness Audience Members.” They have broken down the 100 hours into four-hour shifts, and have reserved a section of the house for “core” members.

Wee-hour readings include:

Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie, Friday, May 9 at 3:30 a.m.

Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya, Saturday, May 10 at 4:30 a.m.

Yazmina Reza, Life X Three, Sunday, May 11 at 2:30 a.m.

Admission is by donation at the door.

“I’m sure it will be an exhilarating, exhausting time,” says Smyth. “We’re looking forward to it…and to it being behind us.”

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