By Jennifer Mustoe
Years ago, I went to a whole new kind of theater experience at Brigham Young University Provo. Back then, it was called the Experimental Theatre Project and I sure felt avant garde even going to such a production. Once I went, I was blown away. Now called the 24 Hour Theatre Project, you can might be able to guess what it’s about.
According to Arianna Krenk, STA (BYU Student Theater Association) President for two years, the process to create the 24 Hour Theatre Project starts the semester before, where they book spaces for rehearsals and performances. Once the semester starts, STA plans to do 24 Hour Theatre Project either in September or October, depending on scheduling, and start picking dates for applications, auditions, and callbacks. Then they start advertising that they are looking for writers, directors, technicians, and actors. They go through the applications, audition everyone, pick their cast and crew, like a typical show.
This is where the first difference in putting on 24 Hour Theatre Project varies from a ‘normal’ production. Something unusual that they do is that for callbacks, they callback their whole cast. They don’t use callbacks as picking the best of the best, they actually use it to look and observe the chemistry of the groups and pick who would work best with who. Immediately after callbacks, they organize the students into groups, assign writers and directors to the groups, and this information is all kept secret.
The actual nuts and bolts of what makes this project unique are these. The week of the show, they have their weekly STA meeting and pick a prop and a prompt, which they give to the writers during the kick-off. Then the Friday before the performance (this coming Friday 10/27) at 6:00 PM, they will meet all the writers to give them a writers’ packet. This packet has information for them such as how to properly format a play (because we only need a 10-minute show), certain rules of the theatre (no guns, no excessive violence), and then their cast.
One of the things I love about this project is the anonymity factor. The cast is labeled Actor 1, Actor 2, up to 5 actors along with their gender, height, hair color, and interested skills. They don’t give names because they don’t want the writers to be influenced by the actors themselves, they want them to write unbiased. Finally, it begins. The writers have from 6:30 PM – 6:30 AM to write their 10-minute play with the actors listed and include the prop and prompt. In the morning, a few of the council members (V.P. Logan Reusch, Secretary Cameron Cox, Treasurer Melissa Longhurst, PR/Social Media Rep Susan Kupferer, additional council members Rebecca McDonnell and Jacob Pierce. Their faculty advisor is Rodger Sorenson and graduate advisor is Lindsi Neilson) will print everything out, and prepare the building/rooms. At 7:00 AM, the directors, technicians, and actors all meet together and Krenk welcomes them and introduces them to the world of 24 Hour Theatre Project and explain how the day will work. Once that is over, they give them their groups, scripts, rooms, and schedules, and off they go! They typically rehearse from 7:30 AM – noon and have a one-hour lunch break. Then back to rehearsing again from 1:00-4:00 PM. After that, they do one tech through and one run through. Then they give them dinner and have a dinner break, and prepare for the first show! Doors open at 7:00 PM and then the magic happens!
At the 24 Hour Theatre Project productions I’ve been to in the past, the 10-minute plays that are created are absolutely wonderful. Some are funny, some are touching, all are inventive. Knowing that this whole enchilada has taken only 24 hours to create and perform is absolutely fabulous and so worth coming to see. You will be blown away–I promise! And guess what? All this marvelous is only a couple of bucks! Come to BYU Student Theater Association’s 24 Hour Theatre Project this weekend and let yourself be delightfully entertained.
Brigham Young University‘s Student Theatre Association presents 24 Hour Theatre Project
Brigham Young University Provo, Wilkinson Center, Provo, Utah
October 28, 7:30 PM and 9:00 PM
Tickets: $2.00 online, $.00 (cash only) at the door
BYU Student Theater Association Facebook Page
24 Hour Theatre Project Facebook Event