24 Hour Theatre provides ‘fun rush’ of excitement

Entire production staged in one day

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Serra Raquel, Entertainment Editor

Changing Faces Theater Company is a nonprofit theatre company based in Lodi and is run by Mike Bartram and Sabrina Willis-Bartram. For years, CFTC has performed a play every summer at Jessie’s Grove Winery.

In addition, for the past four years, they have organized an annual 24 hour theatre event at Hutchins Street Square. Each year, the event is in October and is themed around “Dia de Los Muertos.” This year, the event will be on October 21.

This event isn’t like any normal play. The writers don’t have months to formulate ideas and write a perfect script. The directors don’t have months to strategically cast their play and materialize their vision with sets and costumes. The actors don’t have months to rehearse and memorize all of their lines for their characters.

The entirety of the event is put together within 24 hours.

At 7 p.m. on October 20, a group of writers are gathered in a room and are given pictures and bios of a group of four different actors at random. The writers must then write a complete 10 minute skit for their group of actors to perform in 12 hours.

The next morning, a group of directors are each given one of the scripts written from the night before. At 7 a.m., the actors meet with their directors at Hutchins Street Square. They are then given their scripts for the first time.

“I learned a lot about how to handle stress and be confident in something regardless of the circumstances,” Bear Creek alumna Kirsten Weber (’16) said.

The actors and directors then work the entire day on memorizing and staging their entire skit, until they perform in front of an audience that night, at 7 p.m.

“I was surprised by how much I exceeded my own expectations,” senior Ashley Ricafrente said. “[Last year] was my first time doing 24 hour theater and waiting backstage until we had to go on was the most stressful part of the day because I was doubting myself even though I had run my lines over and over hundreds of times. I was just over-thinking because when I was finally on the stage, the lines just naturally came to me.”

Each skit carries a spooky theme and may include zombies, vampires, werewolves or murder. In previous years, the skits have varied in genre and themes.

Last year one of the skits took a serious tone and featured a man who went insane because his mother had been killed by insects. Another skit revolved around two stoner dudes who had previously worked for Taco Bell interviewing for a job from two Victorian zombies.

“The biggest challenge I had with 24 hour theatre is getting the lines perfect because I’m a perfectionest and even though it wasn’t really a big deal, it was a big deal to me,” Weber said.

24 Hour Theater is an experience and challenge unlike any other in theatre. The format gives way to educational lessons for those involved.

“24 Hour Theater really helped me to realize that I should trust myself more and worry less about making mistakes because I am always hard on myself for everything, especially theater,” Ricafrente said.

Although it is inevitable for some small blunders to occur due to the extremely small time frame, it is an event of fun and enjoyment.

“I think my experiences were a really fun rush of excitement and positive stress which made me want to get that crazy fun stress again at Humboldt,” Weber said. “Even though I stage managed for 24 hour theatre at HSU, it brought back that rush that I had before.”