At 8 p.m. on Friday October 10, five Colgate students sat down to write their own short plays. At 8 a.m. the following morning, they handed these off to student actors and directors, who in turn brought these scripts to life by 8 p.m. the following evening. The plays were billed as the “24-Hour Burn”.
“The 24 Hour Burn started with professional theater companies in Chicago, and spread from there,” said junior Sarah Tilley. “Colgate’s done it before, though not for about a year and a half.”
Walking into the rehearsal area at noon on Saturday, one could already detect a sense of urgency. Actors paced the room, reciting their lengthier monologues ad verbatim, while any and all props and scenery were hastily being gathered and designed.
“It’s fun, but it’s definitely stressful because of the finite amount of time everyone’s been given,” said Tilley. “It’s particularly difficult for the actors and directors because they actually know the people whose work they’re presenting, and don’t want to let them down by screwing anything up.”
Donovan’s laid-back atmosphere thankfully provides a cooling element for all involved.
“One of the advantages of working here is that there’s enough space for everyone to spread out and sit around,” said Tilley. “People can be scattered all over the room, doing their own thing. It’s a lot different from when we used to do this in Ryan, and everybody was spread out in different, smaller rooms.”
“You don’t feel like you’re crammed into a tight space,” agreed senior Melanie Goldberg. “It’s a great place for writing all night and rehearsing all day.”
Thankfully, everyone’s efforts paid off, and the performances went without a hitch. The first, “The End of the World” by senior Riley Croghan, examined the ups and downs of a potential apocalypse, making the astute observation that those most prepared in terms of supplies are often the most emotionally unprepared of us. The second, “No Hard Feelings” by senior Vanessa Persico, examined the evolving relationships between two sisters and a friend, tracing their dependences and distances that grow between them as they get older. The third, “Two Peas in a Pod” by senior Allie Geiger, was a tragicomic monologue reflecting on the downfall of an older sister who was once the family favorite before getting knocked up in Scotland. The fourth, “Fall Breakup,” took direct aim at Colgate’s Juicy Campus travesties, and examines the consequences of anonymous, derogatory sexual comments being posted on the internet. The fifth, “First Date” by Geiger and sophomore Cooper Sivara, was the most light-hearted of the bunch, and focused on the anxieties and misconceptions that go into any awkward first date.
“My favorite part of all this is seeing the amazing productions that can be put on in only 24 hours,” said Goldberg enthusiastically. “It’s amazing to me that people can stay up all night and write plays that are well-thought out, well-written, and, thanks to the actors and directors, well performed.”