Imagine you are given twelve hours to construct an entire play and then only another twelve to memorize the script, find all the costumes, set props, and run through it all before you have to perform it exactly 24 hours after it was written. Does this sound insane? Well, a total of sixteen people pulled it off with help from the Secretary of the White Room and sophomore Windy Vorwick and senior acting stage manager Hannah Sturm.
The 24-Hour Project is hosted in the White Room, a student-run theater in the basement of Montgomery Hall, where twelve hours are set aside on Friday for the writers to make their scripts and the rest of the time to pair up actors and directors with the writers to create a play. There were four total plays this semester with eight actors, four directors and four writers assigned to each.
Participant Rachel Buxton said of the experience, “The hardest part is to get started and to decide what to do. But after that, it was surprisingly easy to get it done.”
Throughout each play the amount of effort and hard work put into every part was visible from the costumes made “from whatever is in your closet or that you can find in the costume room” (according to stage manager Hannah Sturm) to the actual people acting out the scripts as well as the lights and sound people in the back. The one play was written by junior Michael Gill and was aptly named Missed Fortunes. Most definitely a comedy, Missed Fortunes featured a Scrooge-like visitation from a future self to a ruthless businesswoman involved in the famous coffee chain Star-Bucks.
Though most of the plays had humorous aspects, there were little specks of seriousness that would come through now and again. The play Science Hat, as it was named two minutes into its dress rehearsal, was written by senior Kevin Koeser. While it started out as a more serious play, as it developed it involved the audience and became comical. The plot centers around two scientists who are secretly experimenting with a strange metal hat that their company has produced and whose properties they are trying to discern.
Sophomore Hannah Dickmyer was an actor in the last play, Once Upon a Time, written by senior Yna Davis. Dickmyer said that this was her third time doing the 24-Hour Project and that her “favorite part of the play was her next to last line.” She played a princess who has become fed up with her author’s farcical attempts at writing them out of a tower where they are trapped together.
In only a day, about twenty people put together four approximately ten-minute plays that were witty, engaging, and hilarious in their characterization. Besides being exhausted from staying up for a day and rushing to go get everything done, it seems that all involved are also pleased with what they accomplished.