Theatrical Fast Forward

Theatre is a process, but some students are attempting to speed it up.

The 24 Hour Theatre is a collaborative student effort where a production is written and performed in a day’s time. It is a resurrected tradition that involves working long hours to create and put together a show from scratch.

The most recent 24 Hour Theatre production was organized by third-year theatre arts major Brendan Quinn and  performed in the Black Box theatre in the Smiley Art Building on Saturday, Nov. 12.

“We met Friday night at 8 p.m. and within 24 hours, came up with a concept and discussed various ideas,” Quinn said. “We wrote a show, rehearsed it and performed it Saturday night at 8 p.m.”

Ten students, in a range of majors, were involved in the production: nine actors and one production manager, who helped with the overall creative process.

Those involved meet 24 hours before the scheduled performance to formulate a concept.  A writer works on the script through the night and the next morning and everyone meets up to read the script through and start blocking and rehearsing.

The entire day is dedicated to rehearsals and adding costumes. Finally, at 8 p.m., the collaboration is performed.

This year’s show, “Mistress Quickly’s Time Travel Café” was molded into a parody of a “Twilight Zone” episode. The show incorporated real and fictional people from different time periods and brought them together in a café where they solved the mystery of the murder of Genghis Khan before they were allowed to venture back to where and when they came from.

Some of the characters included JFK, Cleopatra, Jack the Ripper and Luna Lovegood from the “Harry Potter” series.

“It was a mixture of several genres: comedy, psychodrama, love story, and just general strangeness…this murder mystery leads to more murder, in which people like JFK become savage killers and people like Jack the Ripper prove to be innocent,” said Lydia Nightingale, a fourth-year theatre major also involved in the performance. “The basic instincts of humanity have been revealed to show that no one can be trusted and, in a lot of instances, the most unlikely people can be responsible for cruelty.”

Chrissie Vuolo, second-year psychology and theatre double-major and one of  24 Hour Theatre’s sound technicians said the group is “a great experience with an amazing group of people.”

The creative process and camaraderie that accompanies working long nights on a tight schedule, makes for unforgettable experiences and allows students to focus soley on one project, Quinn said.

“[The 24 Hour Theatre] is such a condensed project that you can really forget about everything else for twenty-four hours and just work on a theatre piece,” said Quinn.

Though this was the first semester in three years 24 Hour Theatre occurred, students were pleased by the experience, and it is scheduled it to run on a semesterly basis from now on.