Edge, Theater

Creative ideas taken to limit in 24 Hour Play Festival

Putting on a play is a drawn-out, complicated process. First, a producer must choose the show and fund it. Then, the director has to cast the play and create an artistic vision for the production. The actors rehearse for weeks; the technical team constructs the world of the play and the stage manager keeps the whole affair running smoothly. Finally, all of this culminates in the performance itself. This timeframe doesn’t even include the months or even years that the playwright spent on the script.

What happens when all that work is condensed into a single day?

This is the idea behind the 24 Hour Play Festival that will take place at the University of Miami in January.

Theatre professor and Jerry Herman Ring Theatre Interim Artistic Director Peter Ellenstein was the driving force behind bringing this event to campus. The festival will give students the opportunity to execute a play in only 24 hours.

“It’s one of the most creative, combustible events that I can think of,” Ellenstein said about the endeavor. “It also allows people to do things they don’t usually do and take chances.”

Ellenstein’s experience with the 24 Hour Play Festival stretches back two decades. In 1995, his friend Tina Fallon called him with the initial idea.

“I was one of the first people she called about it,” Ellenstein recounted. “She explained it to me and I said, ‘That’s, like, the worst idea I’ve ever heard.’”

However, after Ellenstein worked on the show at the New York International Fringe Festival, he changed his mind.

“I realized while doing it that it’s not about the perfection of theater; it’s about this explosive, creative event that makes you make fast and [make]hard choices and embrace your creativity in a different way,” he said. “The audience had a blast.”

UM’s festival will begin on the night of Jan. 22, when everyone involved will gather in the Ring Theatre with a prop or costume for potential inspiration. The 24 actors will then introduce themselves to the six playwrights before going home to rest for a long day ahead. The playwrights will pick their casts and then spend all night working to produce a short script with the help of faculty advisors. At 6 a.m., they will finalize their drafts and sleep off the long night.

Then, the directors, stage managers and actors will gather for breakfast and a day of rehearsals, all taking turns in the actual performance space. The 24 Hour Plays are set to be directed by theatre department faculty, but all other participants will be students. Finally, at 8 p.m., the curtain will go up. The plays will be performed to the public just one hectic day after they were first written.

“Some of it will turn out wonderful art, some of it will turn out well-intentioned disaster, and that’s all part of the fun,” Ellenstein said. “It gives you a chance to just try and be in an intensely collaborative experience. It’s an adventure that will only happen once, never again.”

Interested students can fill out applications before Dec. 4 to be considered to participate. The final performance is open to the general public.

November 15, 2015

Reporters

Madelyn Paquette


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Wednesday: ▪ The Miami Hurricanes are honoring their 1983 nation ...

With Jaquan Johnson still sidelined with a hamstring strain he suffered on Saturday against Toledo, ...

The Miami Hurricanes are running low on tight ends. But their receivers — notably sophomore speedste ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Tuesday: ▪ The pretty even split of carries between Travis Homer ...

The University of Miami has lost another player to surgery, and the depth was already lacking at thi ...

The trailer for a documentary exploring the relationships between UM students and Holocaust survivor ...

New technology could help workplaces and schools identify violent intruders before they enter the do ...

A University of Miami professor has created software to detect fraud in standardized tests. ...

UM President Julio Frenk outlined the strategies of the Roadmap to Our New Century, part of his Stat ...

Students attending Monday night's State of the U address by UM President Julio Frenk offer thei ...

Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team will begin her fall campaign Thursday a ...

Through three games, Miami is No. 1 in the country in tackles for loss and the entire Hurricanes def ...

Jeff Thomas may be quiet off the field, but the sophomore has been consistently making lots of noise ...

The University of Miami soccer team is set to return to Cobb Stadium, where it will host No. 12 Duke ...

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Tuesday the league slate for the upcoming 2018-19 season. ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.