With only twenty-four hours to go


Story by Michelle Enger, Chief Copy Editor

The countdown was on. Ten hours to write, seven hours to memorize, three hours to rehearse. Only twenty-four hours to put together an entire theatre production.

The UW-Eau Claire Players hosted the fifth annual 24 Hour Project — a show written, rehearsed and performed within 24 hours – on Feb. 9 in the Riverside Theatre of the Haas Fine Arts Center.

Abbey Lowenstein, president of the Eau Claire Players, said the event started as a way to bring together artists from different disciplines and celebrate what they do. She said there is a large artistic community within Haas including dancers, musicians, artists, actors, writers, directors and more.

“It’s a very selective audience that usually comes to see these specific types of art form and it’s rare that you get them all in one place,” she said.

The event started at 7 p.m. on Feb. 8 where approximately 70 participants came together for a kick-off party.  The theme and location that would be seen in the 13 different scenes were chosen and the writers began to write their scripts.

Not all 13 scenes were performed as plays. There was a dance sequence, a scene with musicians, an improv troupe who performed twice and, new this year, a poetry scene.

Each scene had a different plot line, but the writers had to incorporate the theme “You can’t take it with you” into their script as well as the location, which was in a bar this year.

“It is flexible enough that you can take it a bunch of different ways but it is also concrete enough that you can build a story off of it,” Lowenstein said.

Once the scripts are written, the directors and actors are called in to start memorizing their lines and learning their specific scene.

Tabitha Tatro, junior theatre minor, said this was her second year participating. She said the hardest part about the whole process was getting out of bed and staying awake, but being around so many talented people gave her lots of energy.

“I like to do it because it is a lot of fun and gives a lot of people acting experience,” she said. “It prepares them for learning stuff really fast like it is in the theatre world.”

Ross Christianson, an actor in the show, is neither a theatre major nor a minor, but a music education major. He said one of the great things about the “24 Hour Project” is that anyone has the opportunity to participate.

“I really like how it’s an easy way for anyone on campus to get involved with theatre events because we are all busy people and it’s hard to fit something like a theatre production into your schedule,” he said. “But I like doing it for fun. It’s a quick way to do it in one day.”

Lowenstein said it is always a fast paced event, but her favorite part was at 7:01 p.m. Saturday night.

“Once this thing gets going, whatever happens, happens and that is probably the coolest part about it,” she said. “No one has control over it anymore, you just let it be what it’s going to be and it always turns out great.”