cultural capital

24-Hour Party People, on Broadway

At The 24-Hour Plays Monday night, a starry group of actors, playwrights, and other show people — Jennifer Aniston, David Cross, Adam Rapp, Elizabeth Berkeley, Wallace Shawn — got together to write, direct, rehearse, and perform six plays in just one day’s time. It was a benefit for Working Playground, which brings arts programs to underserved New York City schools, and in addition to raising money, it gave its audience a night of unpolished but riveting entertainment. Some highlights 

Best Meta-Performance: They Might Be Giants, whose opening song encapsulated the project’s stunted creative process:

Hour 1, “I got nothing.”

Hour 2, “Me neither …”

Hour 9, “Topic?”

Hour 10, “Can anyone think of a topic … ?”

Hour 15, “It’s like … the thing is …”

Hour 16, “Ahhhhhh!!!!”

Hour 24, “We’re out of time!”

Best Response to the Question “Is Jennifer Aniston as Hot or Hotter Than You’d Expect in Person?”: David Cross, who replied: “I’d say hotter. But she was hotter in a different way than I expected — in a really ‘together’ way. You forget about how hot a woman can be when she’s completely independent and her own person. She’s awesome.”

Best Crazy Man: A tie between Sam Rockwell (“I’m a cocaine addict, and I kill people”) and Matthew Lillard (who was inexplicably permitted to prance onstage in briefs), both in Adam Rapp’s piece about strangers meeting at the site of a killing spree — or was it a porno shoot?

Best Starlet Smackdown: Sexy, confident Gaby Hoffman entirely upstaging stiff, awkward Anna Paquin in David Ives’s play about a creepy couple who shows up unexpectedly at a cabin in a blizzard.

Most Humanized Star: Juliana Margulies, who proved that even the pretty ones make mistakes when she flubbed her lines while reading them off a clipboard, glared at Cross and Rosie Perez cackling in the box seats, cracked herself up, paced around the stage trying to compose herself, started crying, cracked up some more, and practically hyperventilated.

Most Clearly Sleep-Deprived Play: The night’s final one-act, which featured leggy, buxom Elizabeth Berkeley gesturing wildly as a bon vivant Mexican lesbian, Wallace Shawn as an aging organ player with an incomprehensible Princess Bride–ish lisp, and Catherine Tate as his daughter, with an accent halfway between Elmer Fudd and Gilda Radner’s Baba Wawa. It made absolutely no sense — but, you could say, that was its charm.

Jada Yuan

24-Hour Party People, on Broadway