One day later, a show is born

The UW-Eau Claire Players put on 13th annual 24 Hour Project


Photo by Emilee Wentland

The cast and crew of the 24 Hour Project come back to the stage to take a final bow.

More often than not, there never seems to be enough hours in a day. But for the members of the 24 Hour Project, 24 hours is just enough time to write, direct, set up and rehearse a short play.

The UW-Eau Claire Players put on the 13th annual 24 Hour Project on Saturday in the Riverside Theater in Haas Fine Arts Center.

The annual video project began in 2004 and was originally called “Theater Extreme,” taking place in Racy D’Lene’s Coffee Lounge. In 2007, when The Players were formed, the event was renamed “The 24 Hour Project.”

“It’s been a development of trying things and seeing what works and what doesn’t,” said Barry Inman, vice president of The Players.

This year the show consisted of seven different acts, as well as a visual art piece displayed in the lobby. Past years consisted of only six shows, but due to the high amount of interest, another show was added.

The size of the cast varied from show to show. Some had three actors while others had as many as six. Each skit also had a writer and director, as well as nine total tech crew members working behind the scenes.

Each year, 24 hours prior to the time the show begins, the entire group gets together to randomly select a theme and location for the night.

“When everyone signs up for the event— writers, directors, actors, everyone— they submit their ideas for theme and location,” Inman said. “So we put them all in our ‘Players Goblet’ and then we draw [the theme and location], and that’s what it is for the year.”

This year’s theme was “I’m keeping my mouth shut” and the location drawn was “the pits of hell.”

“They [writers and directors] can take the theme and location however they want it. So they could set it actually there, or they could kind of switch it up,” said Dana Strothenke, president of The Players.

The acts varied from comedic storylines to more serious ones. Beginning with “The Better Option,” a drama about an angel coming to hell and ending with “Hello,” a comedy about a Mormon still trying to convert people while in hell.

Two of the storylines ended unfortunately. One of them, “Hell is a Place Called Home: A College Iliad,” featured The Spectator’s own Brian Sheridan, whose character suffered an “unfortunate accident” after a girl told him she liked him. The other, “On Break,” consisted of one of the characters being burned to the point where she was just a skeleton.

Freshman elementary education student Camille Zahn and freshman social work student Tyler Cadilec are both members of The Players and enjoyed watching the performance.

“It was really cool to see the students work together and put on some awesome shows,” Zahn said.

Despite the common theme and location amongst the shows, each performance was unique, just as fun and exciting as the project itself.