Twenty-four hours. A single day. That was all the time playwrights, directors and actors were given to produce five complete, 15-minute theater works from scratch Friday night through Saturday, culminating with performances Saturday night in the Purple Masque Theatre, as part of the K-State Theatre Organization’s 24 Hour Play Festival.
Five writers gathered in an upper room of Nichols Hall at 8:00 p.m. Friday, and after selecting from a random assortment of props, buckled down to write, with a first-draft deadline of 2:00 a.m., and a final deadline of 7:00 a.m. Writers were free to incorporate the “naked” theme of the festival however they saw fit, whether figuratively or literally, each required to use the phrase “I just feel so exposed” somewhere in one’s script. The 20 actors, four for each of the five plays, then arrived at 9:00 a.m. and got to work blocking out the plays and going over lines with directors.
Eleven hours after the actors’ arrival, and after much practice and rote memorization, the work and pressure came to fruition as the playwrights saw their freshly-written works performed in front of an audience.
“A lot of what theater is can be stressful at times,” said playwright Andrew Winter, senior in psychology, who wrote “A Play Within a Play?” about the very nature of theater and its styles. “But sitting back when the show is finally being produced and feeling that satisfaction that you helped create this art is what makes it all worth it.”