As the clock struck 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 23, a group of student theatre artists gathered to begin Untitled@Large’s annual 24-Hour Theatre Festival. The 16 participants, who had registered in their preferred role -- director, playwright, or actor -- in advance, arrived on Friday evening to be sorted into groups and be presented with the year’s randomly selected theme. The weekend’s festival added the new twist of requiring each playwright to include a specific line in their original dialogues.
After the theme was drawn at random, the three writers worked on their stories throughout the night, focusing on the idea, “Respect the Hustle.” At 8 a.m. on Saturday, the student directors received the scripts hot off the printer, and began preparing their casts for the shows that would be presented that evening.
Upon finishing her script, Maddie Cavallino ’21 remarked, “I had a lot of fun. It was a lot less stressful than I thought it was going to be, but it was also a bit of a grind. I went to bed at 2:30 and got up at 7:30 to meet with everyone.”
In cutting down the typically months-long rehearsal process, many of the student actors expressed a sense of excitement at working so quickly. “Will I remember my lines? That is the real question,” quipped actor Jack Martin ’19 in a moment of pre-show jitters.
An organizer of the event, Caitlin McQuade ’18 reflected on her love of the festival and enjoyment in watching the teams work together. A theatre major herself, McQuade acknowledged that “sometimes it’s really scary for an artist to put their work out there. But, with this event you’re forced to take the risk.”
As the 24-hour period the students had to create their short plays drew to a close, an audience of peers poured into the Blood Fitness Center Dance Studio to watch what the teams came up with. Working collaboratively, Ava Witonsky ’21 and Andy Letai ’19 wrote “The Toy Box,” which followed the adventures of two thieves conducting a heist on a toy store.
Maddie Cavallino ’21 penned “Graveyard Shift,” a look into a night in a jail cell shared between a street fighter, a prison guard, and a stranger. Closing the night was “The Pitch” by Christine Tomasi ’21 that presented two dysfunctional entrepreneurs with a losing business idea.
After the lighthearted evening of theatre, director Xan Mullings ’20 summarized the experience. “It was a tiring day, but it was a lot of fun. I had great actors, are all very dedicated to their craft.”