By Comet Ziemer
Over 30 BHS students came together on Friday night and Saturday to do the most important and draining task of their lives. They would take 6 separate scenes, and make them go from idea to stage in the small span of 24 hours. From the first hour, Mr. Day already knew the mistake he had made. But it was only a single day, what could go wrong?
For those who don’t know, here is a rundown. The 24 Hour Plays are a concept, created by Mark Armstrong in 1995, in which a group of people come together and divide themselves into 4 separate roles. We have Writers, Directors, Actors, and Tech Crew. All of these people come together to create short scripts that will go from idea to fully performed on stage in the short time frame of 24 hours. Since its original release, thousands of people have come together from different groups and schools to put together these world premiere productions for audiences all around the world to see. All of these BHS students knew this, but somehow had no idea what they signed up for.
The night started at 6:00 pm on Friday. All of the people involved in the production gathered in the PAB and became affiliated with each other. The theme of this year’s production was “Time”, so everyone took turns talking about what they felt like the theme meant to them. Afterwards, there was a quick briefing on the events that would be going down within the next 24 hours. After a little over an hour of talking, everyone except the writers went home to get a good night’s rest. The writers however, hunkered down in the PAB, and got to work.
Sophie Golsan (12), was a writer in this year’s production. Sophie, along with 7 other writers, stayed overnight in the PAB to work on their scripts. Everyone each had very different ways to keep themselves awake. Some drank one cup after another of coffee or soda. Others always kept their eyes on their screens. Some survived on sheer willpower to get through the night. Sophie talked about their experiences of working in her first 24 hour play as a BHS student.
“The opportunity to write for so long, in a safe, inspirational environment, while still having the pressure of a hard deadline is unlike anything I have ever experienced… We got to watch each other go insane as the night progressed. We got to talk about our parents’ encounters with the Mafia, and we got to really bond over our love for theatre and writing.” Sophie has been an active member of the theater program since her freshman year, and was incredibly thrilled to finally be able to do the 24 Hour Plays after COVID-19 made such a setback. “ My overall time with the 24 Hour Plays is not something I would trade for anything, and is one I would do over again and again.”
When the sun finally rose on Saturday, the director and actors arrived at the PAB and got to work. Everyone was assigned a director and roles to act as. Everyone divided into their groups and started rehearsing. At around 11am, the first groups began getting pulled to start figuring out costuming and tech. There were a total of about 5 students operating as tech, and we had our wonderful costume director, Ms. Linda, running all of the clothing.
By the time it was 7 pm, the house was open and the audience piled into the theater. The writers returned from their slumber and sat down to see their creations come to life and as the lights faded, the past 24 hours had become worth it.
Each and every performance was phenomenal. To think that everything that was done on the stage was done by students in just 24 hours is incredible to imagine. Each writer, director, actor, and tech crew did such an amazing job bringing this production to life. Of course, none of this could have been accomplished without the leadership of Mr. Day, the head of the drama department. Mr. Day once again was able to bring so many students together and create something new and fresh for the world. And after all was done, I think everyone can agree that even though it was hard, it was worth putting in the time and effort.