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24-Hour Theater: The Real Question is, Why Not?

The Real Question is, Why Not?

By Jessie Glover

From M, winter 2005

At 8 p.m., teams of playwrights armed with laptops and caffeinated beverages huddle together, the nighttime hours clicking by too quickly. At sunrise, the actors and stage designers begin to arrive and put in their two cents, everyone spinning together something that looks like theater, always watching the clock. That night, an audience will gather to see--I have no idea what they're going to see, actually.

This process--24-hour theater--condenses creativity to its essentials and boils the collaborative process down in a manner unlike any other in the realm of theater-making. Participants have only one full day to write and stage a play. It puts 'experts' and 'newbies' on the same playing field, providing nearly instant gratification for all. The anticipatory audience, drawn by curiosity, wonders--will these crazy kids be able to pull it together and keep it rolling? The result: energized (rather than exhausted!) students for the beginning of a new semester of theater.

At the Xperimental Theatre on the Twin Cities campus, we have a place where student artists can take the kinds of creative risks they might not be able to take elsewhere. We can explore the boundaries of theater, provide unique modes of collaborating, and look at what our creative limitations may be--and toss them aside.

The Xperimental Theatre will present 24-Hour Theatre at 8 p.m. on January 22, 2005, in Rarig Center's Arena Theatre. Admission is free, but reservations are recommended. Please call the Xperimental office at 612-625-1876 to reserve your seat.

Jessie Glover is the Xperimental Theatre's artistic director.

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