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The 24 Hour Show

April 28, 2009 at 1:26 pm
By Collin Hazlett '12

Brainstorming.  Plot-mapping.  Scriptwriting.  Snack-eating.  Script-editing.  Nap-taking.  Prop-finding.  Line-memorizing.  Costume-crafting.  Script-interpreting.  Action-directing.  Dress-rehearsing.  Last-minute-panicking.  PERFORMANCE!

The 24-Hour Show completes all of these stages of show-production in, as you might suspect, 24 hours.  The basic plot of the show is not even conceived at 8:00 Friday evening, and at 8:00 Saturday evening, the curtain rises and it is performed.

Having been one of the writers for the 24 Hour Show, I can give you an inside look at the insane all-night writing process by which the scripts were created.  Having been asleep at the time, I wasn't there for the insane all-day staging process by which the play was fleshed out, but I have the words of the actors and directors who I met up with after the show to fill in that part of the story.  And, of course, I have pictures and plot summaries of the show itself.

The show's planning phase started humbly, with a large pile of snacks and soda bottles sitting on a table in the CMC.  Over the next 11 hours, the four groups of writers (mine included) converted the sugar and caffeine in this pile into lines of our scripts- about 15 pages' worth per group.

One of our group members, Chris Dole '09, came up with the idea of a film-noir/detective themed comedy, with dry-humored private eye monologues throughout.  I wanted a mad scientist with a Superweapon that would cause people to speak in poetic forms.  Robert Kennedy '09 took these ideas and came up with a plot, which we refined over the course of the next few hours.  Then, with increasing slaphappy sleepiness, we fleshed out the script, Chris doing the opening scenes and the detective lines, Rob writing the climatic final scenes and the mad scientist monologues, and me switching back and forth from computer to computer, adding extra lines and composing sonnets and haikus.

At the same time, Alex Brewer '12, Morgan Holmes '11 and Margaret Taylor '10 devised the story of a fraternity of witches trying to decide which new pledges to admit by seeing which applicant is better at destroying true love.

Nathan Riemer '11 and Alsa Bruno '12 wrote a musical set on the sea in the universe of Redwall – meaning there were swordfights between Captain Wolfberry and Goji the Squirrel Pirate to the music of Pirates of the Carribean, interspersed with songs adapted for the Redwall setting, like "A Whole New Squirrel" and "I Kissed a Squirrel."

Joe Knoedler '09 and Robert Hildebrandt '09 envisioned a post-apocalyptic universe where one man is left alive on Earth, wearing a bathrobe, battle helmet, and combat boots, and with only his sock puppet Ezekiel for company.  That is, until he discovers Femtopia, an idealistic community of women who are divided over what should be done about the discovery that they are not the only gender on the planet.

At 7 in the morning, the scripts were finally finished, and passed to the teams of directors and actors who spent the rest of the day assembling scenes, props, and costumes, and pounding 15 pages of script into their heads.

Then, at 8:00 PM Saturday, the show commenced.  Little Nourse Theater was filled beyond its capacity (to the great delight of myself and all other participants), forcing people to sit in the aisles and the little space between the front row and the stage.  Whether or not this was a fire hazard is an open question.  Halfway through the show there was an intermission, during which the audience members were encouraged to stretch their limbs without hitting their neighbors, which actually proved a bit difficult.

The shows themselves were spectacularly performed, and it would have been hard to tell that it was all memorized in less than a day if it wasn't advertised as such.

But why tell when we can show?  Both myself and Margaret Taylor (Shout's editor) were writers for the 24 Hour Show, and we both have pictures: Margaret took pictures herself and Robert Kennedy gave me the pictures he took.  So here is the Great Album of 2009's 24 Hour Show!