Creating a theatrical masterpiece takes months, even years to perfect. Memorizing lines, making props and costumes, creating sound effects and music and organizing the play takes a lot of time and effort. But what if you could cram all that creativity and work into a 24-hour time period?
Behold, the 24-hour Play Festival.
This festival, hosted by the University of Toledo’s theatre fraternity, Alpha Psi Omega, is a yearly event where UT students and alumni create short plays within one day and then perform them for the public.
This year, 30 people participated in the event, and six plays, including a musical, were created.
The event began Jan. 27 at 6 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts, where participants were placed into groups. Each group then chose two props and were given two lines that would somehow need to be incorporated into their play.
Next, the groups were each assigned one of six genres – horror, inappropriate children’s show, mystery, musical, telenovela and medical drama.
Participants then spent the next 24 hours in the theater creating, writing and practicing their plays.
Alexis Johnson, a fourth-year theatre major and president of Alpha Psi Omega, has participated in the festival for four years now and said that while there is little sleep, everyone still seems to have fun.
“We had dinner and lunch together. We had little competitions,” Johnson said. “We even had a 3 a.m. dance party to make sure we didn’t hate each other, and we needed a break from writing for six hours, so why not dance it out?”
Kaitlyn Beacom and Mike Vanderpool, members of Alpha Psi Omega, helped to organize the event and became “Mom and Dad” to the participants as they ran and got more props and even donuts for everyone throughout the 24 hours.
“Mom and Dad had to alternate naps,” Vanderpool said. “They never came to me for anything. They always went to Mom first.”
The performance of the plays took place Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m., and more than 40 people came to watch the final productions.
Johnson, who participated in the musical, said that one of her favorite parts of the performance was finally getting to show the audience what they had created in such a short period of time.
“It’s like I’ve been delivering these lines to a bunch of sleep-deprived people for eight hours,” she said. “Then the audience comes in with fresh eyes, and there’s a different energy. Then you feed off their energy and they might think a line is hilarious that no one ever laughed at before.”