Most Colgate students associate one night stands with a negative connotation, as the topic of conversation during a guys-only poker game or an article in Cosmopolitan. But to those theatrical students here at Colgate, one night stands evoke no thoughts of poker or women’s magazines. Colgate thespians think, instead, of a program that invites students to share their theatrical talents with members of an audience at some of their most relaxed and enjoyable theater events of the year. One Night Stands is a program developed by Colgate Student Theater in which everyone has a chance to act, no matter your experience, time commitments or preferred production genre. One Night Stands events are an opportunity to meet new people with common interests, have fun and explore the possibilities of spontaneous acting.
One Night Stands began here at Colgate three years ago through the leadership and creativity of senior Adam Samtur, who now holds the position of General Manager for Student Theater, and Rebecca Spiro ’05. They began it as an ongoing project of Student Theater, and it has now earned a place as one of Colgate’s most anticipated theatrical events. It was created to allow Colgate thespians to take part in theater on campus, but without the time and experience that is required for participation in one of the three or four annual full theatrical productions. In fact, the time commitment is no more than the one night on which the performance is held. One Night Stands are, as the name may suggest, one-night-only shows with no rehearsals, no large-scale sets and little preparation of any kind. Sophomore Jon Cornfield, who is currently a Shadow board member of the One Night Stands Subcommittee, was once a first-year student who found himself with a schedule packed full of extracurriculars and no outlet for his love of theater and acting.
“Last year, I was involved in two tutoring groups, CUTV and admissions, all the while keeping an on-campus job. I didn’t have time to spare for daily play rehearsals,” Cornfield said. “Once I heard about One Night Stands, I was able to become a part of the theater community and keep up my acting skills without spending more than one or two days each month.” He is exactly the type of student Samtur and Spiro had in mind when they conceived of One Night Stands several years ago.
The performances put on by One Night Stands are open to any member of Colgate’s large theatrical community, and new members are always welcome. The Student Theater Board One Night Stands Subcommittee chooses the date and theme of the One Night Stands performance, carefully selects dramatic and comedic scenes for the actors to perform and casts the plays from there. There is absolutely no auditioning, making these events quite different from the ordinary theater experience. The One Night Stands Subcommittee selects students for roles based on prior experience with the Colgate theatrical community, as well as the type and number of parts available for that event’s particular plays. Generally all those who are interested and sign up are given roles, and if there is an overabundance of interest, students who do not get parts are automatically placed at the top of the casting list for the next One Night Stands event.
More than one play is performed at each One Night Stands event, and they are usually comprised of a series of scenes, excerpts from long plays or several short plays. Each event has a theme, but there is a variety of genres represented within that theme. In keeping with the event’s clever name and casual atmosphere, as well as the fact that there is an overlap in One Night Stands participants and members of Colgate’s improvisational comedy troupe, Charred Goosebeak, there is usually an emphasis on humor. But unlike Charred Goosebeak, One Night Stands actors do not have to perform entirely without practice. “Actors and directors receive scripts to the plays a few days before the scheduled event, and have a few days to look over them before the event itself,” Samtur explained.
All One Night Stands events take place in the basement of Creative Arts House, and most are held on Friday nights. Although there is spontaneity to the productions due to the lack of large-scale preparation, the actors and directors are asked to arrive several hours before the shows are presented to ensure that the performances are the best that they can be. Events begin at 9 p.m. and last approximately an hour and a half. There is a great variety of actors and genres packed into a short amount of time, giving a very lucky audience the chance to experience several types of theater. Also, the events are BYOB – for the over 21 crowd, of course – and admission is free.
One Night Stands will be holding its first event of the year tonight at 9 p.m. at the Creative Arts House, located at 100 Broad Street. The event is entitled “An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein.” Yes, this is the same Shel Silverstein who wrote childhood favorites like The Missing Piece, The Giving Tree and Where the Sidewalk Ends, but One Night Stands will portray some of his later work, which consists of more humorous, mature plays.
The members of the One Night Stands Subcommittee invite all interested students to attend this event to learn more about the program and see what possibilities it may hold to fulfill their acting desires here at Colgate.
“I’m always amazed to see the size of the crowd that attends the event. No experience is necessary, whether acting or directing, and it’s always rewarding to welcome new faces into the theater community,” Cornfield said.