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Southwestern College to Host 24-Hour Plays

The Southwestern College Theatre Department, with area high school and community college teachers and students, will create and complete an evening of theatre with several 10-minute plays to be presented this Saturday, Sept. 14, in the Richardson Performing Arts Center in the Christy Administration Building. The event is licensed by 24 Hour Plays, a New York organization which gives structures, guidelines, timelines, and suggestions to work out all the details.

This is SC’s second year to create 24-Hour Plays. 

“The popularity of ‘24-Hour Plays’ is growing nationally,” explains Roger Moon, SC theatre professor and playwright. “Winfield and Southwestern students can again experience the exuberant creativity that happens when four dozen playwrights, directors, stage managers, technicians, and actors converge to ‘play’ at this intense level.  It’s a joy to experience as a creator or as an audience.”  

Playwright Adam Sharp, a 2006 SC graduate now living in Minneapolis, Minn., will be return as one of the playwrights.  Having written several times for major 24-Hour Plays, Sharp will also meet with the playwrights before the event begins to help them prepare for the experience.

SC participants also will have the opportunity to work with professional actor Dan Campbell, Wichita.  Campbell, who worked for years in California and New York and performed with SC’s Horsefeathers and Applesauce Summer Theatre, will be doing 24-Hour Plays for the first time. 

“I’m as excited and terrified as all the other first year creators, but I’ll be right there with the SC students who will be doing this for the second time,” Campbell says.  “I’ll be right behind them.”

SC students, Kansas and Oklahoma community college theatre teachers, and students from as far away as Garden City Community College, along with area high school and SC prospective students will be involved.  

Starting at 10 p.m., Friday, Sept. 13, playwrights, actors, directors, assistant directors, and technicians will begin.   They will work in shifts all night and day to create the collection of 10-minute plays which will perform Saturday at 8 p.m., and finish by 9:30, allowing the actors the time to “strike” the sets and costumes, clean the theatre, and be done in 24 hours.

Introductions begin at 10 p.m. Friday, and each participant brings a costume piece and a prop.  Pictures are taken of each actor, and by 11:30 p.m., the playwrights choose actors for their plays and begin writing, while the rest of the company goes to sleep in their dorms or homes. 

Faculty and students from area community colleges and high schools are being housed in the homes of SC theatre patrons who will bring them back to the college by 8 a.m., Saturday, to begin their 12 hours of rehearsal and tech work on the new plays.

“At some point in the process we all say ‘this is impossible,’” says Julia Faust, SC senior who acted in the plays last year.  “This year I’m directing. It’s crazy, but with our amassed creativity, collaboration, dedication, and hard work, we’ll succeed.”
Allyson Moon, SC director of theatre, will be directing, and participating in the “24 Hour Plays” for the second time.

“It’s scary but we found out last year it’s worth it,” Moon says. “We pay homage to the gods of the theatre, honor and develop our dramatic talents, work creatively with fellow theatre artists, and have, as Roger (Moon) says, ‘a hoot of a good time.’”
College and community audiences are invited to come watch the creators as they begin on Friday. 

“Be there before 10 p.m.,” says Allyson Moon, “because we have to start right on time and make every minute counts.”

Community homes are still needed to house students. 

“It’s always more fun if a person is involved,” says Allyson Moon, “so adopt a student. See them audition, then take them home, give them a good bed to rest in, bring them back in the morning, and then come see their great creative work.  Help us be Builders.”

To volunteer to house the area students or faculty, or for more information call the SC box office, (620) 221-7720. General admission tickets for the event are available at the door for $5 for adults and $2 for students.