Springboard Theater Company, a theater group founded by DePaul students last year, held its first annual 24 Hour Play Festival on Saturday. The event included five plays, all of which written and directed by students in a 24 hour period.
The play fest kicked off at 6 p.m. on Friday, where a team of five writers spent three hours creating the original works to be performed the next evening. Each work featured a different genre — romance, mystery, historical drama, horror and fairy tale.
“We gave the writers a bunch of different options and they chose their favorites,” DePaul sophomore Ella Lubienski, who directed “The Drunken Fairy,” the fifth play of the night said. Lubienski said other genres considered included dystopian, noir and sci-fi.
At 9 p.m. Friday, the directors, actors and stage managers converged to cast the newly written shows. Auditions within the cast were held to fill the roles.
“The actors performed monologues written by Springboard members for the auditions,” Doug Long, faculty advisor of Open Theater Company, the student organization at DePaul that oversees Springboard, said. “Then by 10:30 the actors were split into groups and finally knew which plays they were in.”
After casting was complete, the five groups had until 6 p.m. Saturday to put together the shows. This deadline created a late Friday night and an early Saturday morning for most actors with an average of four hours of sleep for each member.
In addition to the deadline, more challenges were included in the play fest. Each group was given a director’s prompt as a quirk to incorporate into each play as well as various props. The props were added near last minute at 4 p.m. on Saturday, two hours before the doors opening.
In “I’m Not Like Most Horror Films,” written by sophomore Cooper Packard, the prompt required one character to break out in a pop song, and the prop given to them was a nutcracker shaped like Hillary Clinton.
Other props used throughout the night included a ukulele, a tutu, and nursing scrubs. For director’s prompts, actors were not allowed to be more than five feet away from each other in the romance play “Noah’s Ark” written by freshman Nick Sansone, and in “The Melting Pot of Friendship,” the historical narrative written by freshman Reuben Diaz, one character had to speak in an accent.
One group in particular faced a challenge in which Springboard co-founder Gabe Reiss had to fill in for an absent writer while also having to direct another play the same night.
“Everyone was probably in bed at four in the morning,” Reiss said, “but that’s when I had to start writing another play!” His mystery, “Nuts,” nonetheless was met with raucous laughter from the audience Saturday.
Overall, the 24 Hour Play Fest received positive feedback from audience members.
“I thought it was so cool how they came up with all this in 24 hours, and that none of this was planned,” sophomore Julie Ivers said.
“I’m constantly amazed by Springboard,” attendee Maureen Mosso said. “I thought they were all amazing 24 hours ago, then 24 hours later they all topped themselves.”
Up next for Springboard is a radio plays, “NiceTown, USA.” The production is expected to have a stripped down, simpler set and a unique sound collection.
“It’s going to be a type of theater performance that’s new to DePaul,” co-founder Peter Bucci, who also directed one of the plays on Saturday, said. “It’ll be a cool experiment.”
“NiceTown, USA” is an original work written specifically for Springboard, and will premiere on Saturday, Nov. 21 at Cortelyou Commons.