Newman University Theatre challenges participants with 24-Hour Theatre Project

Feb 09, 2017
Newman University Theatre Department hosts a 24-hr Project.

On Saturday, Feb. 4, Newman University current and prospective students, faculty, staff, and alumni transformed into nocturnal beings, racing against time to create a theatrical masterpiece.

The 24-Hour Theatre Project was introduced in the 1990s and then caught on very quickly throughout the decade.

Keelah Warden and Leuan Sion Thomas star in "Til Death Do Us Part" written by Lauren Spencer
Keelah Warden and Leuan Sion Thomas star in “Til Death Do Us Part” written by Lauren Spencer

“I believe it was originally done in New York,” explained Director of Theatre Mark Mannette. “I participated in my first 24-hour project in the late 90s in Florida, and when I was a full time professor in North Carolina I said we are going to do one here as well.”

When Mannette came to teach at Newman University, he brought the 24-hour project along with him.

“This is the sixth time we’ve done it here, the first one was in 2012.”

Beginning at 6 p.m., teams that consisted of playwrights, directors, and actors came together and began the process of creating a masterpiece. The official clocks started at 8 p.m. where playwrights in each team began their writing and were given 12 hours to finish their scripts. The next morning, at 8 a.m., the actors and directors in each team began rehearsing the written scripts.

The plays that were created included “The Unfortunate Events of Two Brothers,” “Get Outta My Head,” “A Shark in the Wave” and “‘Til Death Us Do Part.”

Angel Moore

“I had a wonderful experience,” said Admissions Counselor Angel Moore, who played the role of Vanessa in “A Shark in the Wave.” “It was a tragedy where the lead thought her mother had passed and goes through all the emotions of dealing with a death, along with being paranoid over the details of her passing. The conclusion is: it was all a dream!”

“I think (the reason) why people jump on it is for the challenge,” Mannette added.” You don’t have the time commitment to a full rehearsal process, you just do it all in one day.”

“It’s crazy to think that these students and professors could write a full script in 12 hours or less, then hand it over to a director and actors who only have 12 hours to learn and perform it for a live audience!” said sophomore Amy Emerson. “It was amazing to see what they were able to put together in the amount of time that they had.”

When asked why he wanted to have the 24-Hour Theatre Project be a part of Newman University Theatre, Mannette replied with, “I want for them to have the experience of doing something that seems like it would be impossible, but then being able to overcome that and do it. If you overcome something that you think is quite challenging, then something else [that you believe is just as challenging or more] its a little bit easier because you’ve stretched yourself, proved to yourself, that you can do it.”