24-Hour Theatre Project proves the old adage true

Feb 25, 2016
The play "Strength" was produced by, from left: Jacob Hobbie, Lewis Mize, Sydney Finney, Vanessa Couey, Ximena Naame, and Trevor Farney.

In theatre, the old saying goes, “The show must go on!” — even if the play was written only four hours before rehearsals began, and even if the actors and director have only just met, and even if they only had around 11 hours to find costumes, do the stage blocking and memorize lines before performance time.

For most theatrical productions, a 24-hour timeframe would be impossible. For the Newman University 24-Hour Theatre Project, it’s par for the course.

For its fifth straight year, the 24-Hour Theatre Project, hosted by the Theatre Department, has gone off without a hitch. Multiple students, faculty, local high school students and friends came together on Friday, Feb. 19, to be sorted into their project teams. The five teams, each consisting of a playwright, director and actors, worked from 8 p.m. on Feb. 19 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20, to put together five original one-act plays.

From left: Trevor Farney, Ximena Naame, Lewis Mize and Sydney Finney perform for audience at 24-hour Theatre Project
A scene from the original play “Strength” included performers, from left: Trevor Farney, Ximena Naame, Lewis Mize and Sydney Finney.

Some were humorous, like senior theatre major and project playwright Alison Byrne’s “The Tasty Tale of Duke Wellington,” a detective farce filled with over-the-top characters and more than twice the daily recommended serving of food puns. Some teams, however, tackled more dramatic themes, like project playwright Vanessa Couey’s play entitled “Strength.” The play’s characters were all challenged to find different forms of strength after a tragedy disturbed their lives. Couey, a sophomore biology and psychology major, said she challenged herself to write something thought-provoking and emotional.

“I wanted my play to have a deep meaning and be kind of emotional because we all have those times and strength is not something that comes easy,” Couey said.

Newman Theatre Club President and another project playwright Justin Ralph said the project had a great turnout and helped NTC raise more than $200 to put into future club projects.

Director of Theatre and Project Coordinator Mark Mannette said that one of his favorite aspects of the project is the variety of people who get involved.

“I would say more than half the people who participated are not theatre majors,” he said. “They prove to themselves that they can do it. And they did. And they do every year, even if they’re not an actor or a playwright.”

The Theatre Department’s next event will be the main stage production of Robert Bolt’s “A Man for all Seasons,” which will be showing 8 p.m. March 3-5 and 2 p.m. March 6 in the Performance Hall in the De Mattias Fine Arts Center. Admission will be $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and military, $5 for Newman University faculty and staff and non-Newman students, and free for all Newman University students with I.D.