Theater clubs premiere original scripts at 24-Hour Play Festival

Kelsey Hamm

24 hour playfest_web_HK
At the end of the 24 Hour Playfest, all the cast members and people involved in the event came out and sang. The 24 Hour Playfest was composed of seven ten minute plays that were all written, casted, rehearsed and then performed in the span of 24 hours.

The 24-Hour Play Festival ran last weekend from Saturday evening to Sunday at 3 p.m., with a final performance in I.G. Greer’s studio theater.

Participating Appalachian State University students were challenged to write, cast, direct and design plays in a 24-hour period, said Carmen Lawrence, stage manager for the production and senior theatre performance major.

The Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Honors Society, Playcrafters, the Musical Theatre Club, the Appalachian Women’s Theatre Troupe and the Technical Theater Club collaborated to make the event possible.

“We tried to come up with something all the clubs could do together, and this was a great solution,” said Lawrence, who is also the president of the Women’s Theatre Troupe.

Eighteen writers created 20 plays over the course of seven hours, Lawrence said. Seven were chosen for the following day’s performance. A panel of students and professors chose between the 20 plays in a 45-minute period.

“A lot of different theatre club presidents were on the panel, and we looked at a lot of factors when choosing what to present,” Lawrence said. “We wanted the plays to be PG-13 and not monologue intensive. We had to message a lot of the writers to apologize for not putting their play in, but we asked them to flush it out and submit again next time. It was a hard task in 45 minutes.”

After choosing the plays, directors moved on to casting, said sophomore theatre education major Breanna Glosson, who starred in a play called “Ten Minutes to Save the World.”

“Casting took place over a two-and-half-hour process,” Glosson said. “All the directors sat in a room and the actors sat behind them. Each read the same monologue individually in turn, before they called in the dancers and then the men to read for their parts. Everyone got a part, which is good, but they had to debate and argue over who would get what person.”

The most difficult part of acting in the play was remembering the lines, and deciding what to wear for the play at 5 a.m., Glosson said.

“For the costuming, me and the girl in the play with me ran to my dorm at five in the morning and silently went to my closet before tossing all my clothes around,” Glosson said. “I needed to wear something businesslike and she needed to wear something flowery, tasteful and expensive-looking.”

Senior theatre major and Playcrafters president Luke White wrote “Ten Minutes to Save the World” about two women forced to solve the world’s problems after being deemed Earth’s smartest people.

“The idea for my play came out with a drunken conversation with a friend,” White said. “We were talking about all the problems of the world and how we could solve them, and how we could inevitably just look out for ourselves.”

White’s play featured a comic relief character – a dog who commented on the character’s actions throughout the play.

“We needed an objective voice of reason to differentiate between the people who were looking out for themselves,” White said. “Since the two main characters are affluent members of society looking out for themselves, to them the people are the dog, the members of society who don’t have a voice and who can’t do anything about the decisions being made by people in power.”

The festival was sold out, Lawrence said.

White said the next on-campus student production will be the Playcrafter’s New Play Festival, Feb. 19-21 at 7 p.m. in the I.G. Greer studio theater. The festival will include four plays that are student-directed and -acted. Admission is $5.

Story: Kelsey Hamm, Intern A&E Reporter