The clock is ticking…

24 Hour Project unites all artists across the UW-Eau Claire campus

More stories from Elizabeth Gosling

Working in Haas for 24 hours unites artists of all sorts with a common goal: to make art.

“We start with a location and a theme,” Student administrator Jake Pritchard said. “Everything else is hard work and imagination.”

Artists from different disciplines united for Eau Claire’s first theater performance of the school year at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Described as “a collaboration of art forms all created from the ground up within 24 hours’ time,” students created six plays, a puppetry act, a poem, a painting and a song for the event.

Barry Inman, theater major and administrator of the event, believes the students who participate benefit from the experience.

But that’s not all who benefitted from the event. Serving as a director for all of the different art forms, Inman had several goals of his own during this experience.

“I hope to become a better leader, grow management skills, and communicate better with people,” Inman said.

For the latest project, the location was an airport and the theme was “A Twist of Fate.” Subjects of the plays to be performed 24 hours later varied. Art enthusiasts memorized scripts, constructed sets, programmed lights and directed stage movement all within the time limit.

The 24 Hour Project originated with just plays. Gradually other aspects of art were added, Inman said. He decided to step up as a junior and become one of the leaders everyone else comes to for answers.

Any student could sign up for the event. This year, there were around 50 total participants, with a limit of 25 actors. Other forms of art could have any number of people.

Freshman Rachel Bachhuber, a play director for the project, got involved and gained some college theater experience. As a theatre arts and psychology major, Bachhuber said she has enjoyed the experience immensely and has personally grown because of it.

“I am able to plan things last minute, use time wisely, and do more characterizing exercises with actors,” she said.

Inman and his co-host Pritchard expected that everyone else wanted to be actors for the project, and it is impossible to be an actor and an administrator.

“You have to be visible to everyone,” he said.

All of the respective arts have a role in making the project succeed. During the process, participants come in at specifically designated times to make the process go smoothly.


The Magic in the Making

On Friday, the musicians, painters, playwrights, directors and technical crew are working to devise ideas. At 6 a.m. on Saturday, the directors choose their scripts randomly and begin making visions for their play.

When the writers devise their plays, however, three curve balls cross their paths.

“A specific action or event enters the writer’s script, and they have to insert it somewhere in the play,” Inman said.

A line also has to be incorporated in each script, and a certain prop has to be used. This year, the line “Netflix and chill” had to be incorporated into each play.

Throughout the event, Inman and Pritchard made sure everyone was communicating and staying on schedule.

Sean Bonfoey, a sophomore accounting and business major, is an avid supporter of the 24 Hour Project.

“I like how it shows off all of the talent,” Bonfoey said. “It just gets me drawn in.”

Through humorous lines like, “You really threw me for a curve ball!” to other serious moments in which a sister is forced onto a plane without her autistic brother, the 24 Hour Project carried a lot of emotion.