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A Train Plays: From Concept to Stage in 28 Hours

<strong>Fast Art:</strong> Librettist Craig Pospisil (left) and director David Brind discuss their play, about a couple taking a train to a funeral. Brian Nash, on the keyboard, calls one song "God Hates Me, and I Don't Think I Am All That Great Myself."
Fast Art: Librettist Craig Pospisil (left) and director David Brind discuss their play, about a couple taking a train to a funeral. Brian Nash, on the keyboard, calls one song "God Hates Me, and I Don't Think I Am All That Great Myself."

In fast-paced New York City, art is imitating life. The fad for so-called "fast art" includes plays, novels and films all created in a single day.

The classic events in this genre are known as "theAtrainplays:" plays and musicals created on the A train, the city's longest subway line. Performers, writers, composers and directors have about a day to take a production from the first line on paper to its first performance.

The artists who create these plays work in teams. Each team creates a play or musical, about 20 minutes long, during the time it takes to travel the entire route of the A train, from 207th Street & Broadway to Far Rockaway and back. And yes, each work has to take place on the train.

Actors are chosen at random, their names written on pieces of paper picked out of a bag. The directors and composers are also assigned randomly.

NPR follows a group of 40 artists, split into six teams, as they take a show from the first line on paper to the first performance on stage during one 28-hour period.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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