Thursday, November 10, 2011

Alpha Psi Omega students write, perform 24 Hour One Act Festival

By Jessica Trondsen, Opinion Editor

Most theater productions take weeks, if not months, of preparation. However, seven Pacific Lutheran students created and rehearsed a one act play in 24 hours.

Members of Alpha Psi Omega, PLU’s theater honor society, gathered in the Studio Theater last Friday to participate in The 24 Hour One Act Festival, where they wrote, staged, rehearsed and performed an entire one-act play in 24 hours.

APO members were then split into two groups, each of which had to create a separate performance. Each group randomly drew a word they needed to use at least five times and an object and action that needed to appear at least once during the performance.

The two shows were then performed on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Studio Theater, which was open to the public. At the end of each performance, the audience of 35 people was challenged to guess which elements of each show had been part of the assignment.

“I had no idea what the hidden object, action and words were," said sophomore Farah Schumacher, who was in the audience. "I tried to guess, but my guesses were wrong.”

Seniors Christina Ramirez and Emily Anderson and sophomores Ali Schultz and Evan Hildebrand wrote and performed “Building Bridges,” a piece about four friends facing fears of love and life goals, set in Juneau, Alaska. The piece included the word “horticulture,” and its mispronunciation, “herdaculture,” five times, in reference to where Schultz’s character, Alex, worked.

The object included was a wide-brimmed hat, which Schultz wore at the beginning of the piece, and the action was an Eskimo kiss, which Schultz and Hildebrand shared at the end of the piece.

“It took about three and a half hours to get the structure,” Ramirez said. “It was very freeform.”

The piece, which used some improvisation, also included monologues by each character, which Ramirez said were “very personal."

The piece was prepared through collaboration and suggestions between the four actors, with no directors, Hildebrand said.

Juniors Frank Roberts and Myia Johnson and sophomore Cori DeVerse wrote and performed “Episode 408: Don’t Do Drugs,” in the style of a “heavy satire, faux-documentary,” Roberts said.

The piece included warning signs of the use of the drug “Dust Bunnies,” which was the object the group was assigned. Snorting, the group’s assigned action, was the method of intake for the Dust Bunnies drug. The piece was shown on the “Congruent” Network, which was the word the group had to include five times.

Anderson, Johnson and Roberts participated in previous APO One Act Festivals.

“It helped knowing the timeline to work along,” Roberts said. The act was “loosely scripted, with an idea board,” Roberts said.

Schumacher said she was glad she went.

“I couldn’t even tell that they had to make up a few parts along the way,” Schumacher said. “I am glad I went, and I would most definitely go again.”

DeVerse said she was “nervous and tired” and chose to participate in the performance to be “closer to the people you see every day.”

The 24 Hour One Act Festival is a long-standing theater exercise, which PLU has practiced “as long as anyone can remember,” Ramirez said. The activity is not a requirement, but only APO members can participate. Another festival will take place Jan. 25-28 in the Studio Theater.