For 24 sleepless hours, producers Julius Ross ’13, Susannah Hyde ’13 and Arianna Chang ’13, along with a group of student writers, directors, stage managers and actors, downed caffeine as they worked to devise, stage and perform six plays for the highly-anticipated 24 hour plays in Steinbach Theatre.
Drawing from personal stories shared by the actors, six student playwrights began writing their plays at 7 p.m. on Friday night, finishing at 7 a.m. the next morning. With only 11 hours before the show, student actors arrived at 8 a.m. in the morning to memorize and learn their assigned roles, while directors and stage managers worked to create each play on stage.
Students raced against the clock in preparation for the night’s first performance at 7:15 p.m.
Breaking and Entering for Dummies
“Breaking and Entering for Dummies,” written by Annika Neklason ’13 and directed by Ben Yi ’14, chronicles the experience of three friends as they break into a stranger’s house to rearrange furniture, and end up robbing the resident of sanity, rather than material goods.
Danielle, played by Lauren Smith ’15, decides to take her boyfriend, Aaron, played by Kory Stuer ’15, along with her to her weekly illegal adventures with her friend Josh, played by Garrick Gu ’13.
Gu, who played a goon obsessed with licking all objects he sees, infused the play with humor and captured the attention of several members of the audience.
“I especially loved seeing these amazing, hilarious plays come together in a day! I loved seeing my friend Garrick Gu licking the floor; he started the night with awesome dramatics!” said Alex Rubin ’14.
Chronicling an awkward coffeeshop romance between a barista and a customer, “Bloody Coffee,” written by Kevin Newhall ’13, went up next.
Donny, played by Andries Feder ’13, attempts to pick up Isabella, an attractive girl he has been eyeing, played by Lydia Kaprelian ’13. With the help of his fellow barista and best friend Gerald, played by Theo Agbi ’13, Donny succeeds in winning the love of the girl of his dreams.
Jaleel Williams ’15 shined in his unreserved interpretation of Isabella’s transgender best friend, Shanice. The excellent acting by Agbi and Williams elicited laughter and applause from the audience.
“The highlight of ‘Bloody Coffee’ was the heated confrontation between Gerald and Shanice, in which Shanice’s wig was torn off,” said Esther Cohen ’14, director of the “Bloody Coffee.”
Imaginary friends, Pokémon and Japanese culture collided in “Japanophilia,” written by Bella Flynn ’15 and directed by David Benedict ’13.
Emily, played by Vienna Kuhn ’16, is a shy girl who feigns sickness so that she can stay home to spend time with her imaginary Japanese friend, the confident Emi-Chan, played by Sophiya Chiang ’14. When a popular bad boy at school, Chad, played by Paul Kinard ’15, delivers pizza to her house, Emily is forced to fight for his affection against her uninvolved mother Karen, played by Frances Yackel ’15, and her supposed imaginary friend.
“The level of [humor] of the play was way insane, so it was really hard to keep a straight face during rehearsals, but nonetheless I had an amazing time acting with Vienna, Frances and Paul. I especially enjoyed exaggerating the Asian stereotype to make the audience laugh,” said Chiang.
Moules Frites Missouri’s
Big Bangin’ Bash
A Thanksgiving reunion of old friends in the deep South unraveled issues about love and Thanksgiving feasts in the play “Moules Frites Missouri’s Big Bangin’ Bash” written by Veronica Harrington ’13 and directed by Joey Salvo ’14.
Jedidah “Jamboree” Jones, played by Vincent Mocco ’15, and Poinsetta Freemont, played by Sophia Lloyd-Thomas ’14, have been dating since their sophomore year of high school but 15 years later have yet to marry. Despite this, Jedidah is protective and caring towards Poinsetta, especially when his friend Sebastian “666” Thaddius-Wilmington, played by Jakob Solheim ’14, attempts to hit on her during the meal.
Throughout the play, “Flat Bed” Morrison, played by Theodore Perez ’16, consistently complains about the unusual combination of the Thanksgiving feast that includes “sweet potaters” and marshmallows.
“All [the actors] did such a good job with their Southern accents, even though the play became a little harder to follow because of the [Southern] accent. I have to say, [Mocco’s] punchline, ‘Gee, you’re the greatest cousin ever!’, definitely made the whole play,” said Jerry Li ’14, a member from the audience.
Ponies and Rainbows
Every teenage boy’s fantasy of being in a dorm filled with seductive female residents is fulfilled in “Ponies and Rainbows,” written by Michael May ’13 and directed by Anna Stacy ’13.
Rick, a house counselor’s son, played by Emma Kukielski ’15, sneaks into a girl’s room in hopes of stealing a bra to complete his disguise as a girl. However, his cover is blown before he manages to get his hands on one. Hilarity ensues as Grace, Lora and Andra, played respectively by Kai Kornegay ’14, Erica Nork ’16 and Lane Unsworth ’15, invite Rick to an underwear pillow fight without realizing his true identity.
“I thought ‘Ponies and Rainbows’ was so well acted and directed! [Unsworth] was particularly hilarious with her theatrics. My favorite part was when she roared, ‘For Sparta!’,” said Molly Magnell ’14, a member of the audience.
It is true that men will do anything to win a girl, even pretend to be British and fake an accent, as shown in the play “Anglophilia,” written by Mads Engel ’14 and directed by Casey Durant ’14.
Reilly, an American exchange student in England, played by Adam Brody ’14, invites an attractive British girl over to his house where he lives with his fellow American friends David, played by Sirus Han ’13, and Christopher, played by Michael Ohakam ’15.
The play becomes particularly humorous when Alice, played by Emmie Avvakumova ’14, arrives at Reilly’s apartment and does not show any interest in Reilly, who boasts a British accent and Harvard education, but rather falls for Christopher, who shares Alice’s obsession with drugs.
“With subtle drug references and just enough profanity, Mads managed to create a quirky, SNL-esque skit that kept the audience laughing,” said Noah Hornik ’15, a member of the audience.