Plays in a Day kicks off this weekend

Sarah Yaacoub

Rome may not have been built in a day, but this weekend, the WKU Theatre and Dance Department’s Plays in a Day will showcase something that was.

The festival is a semi-annual event held on campus at Gordon Wilson Lab Theatre, organized by theatre major Reagan Stovenour and performing arts major Nick Struck, both of whom are upperclassmen at WKU.

This semester’s Plays in a Day, only the second to take place at WKU, will be created in collaboration with the Kentucky Museum and its upcoming New Kentuckians exhibit, which will open to the public on Saturday, the day of Plays in a Day’s final performance.

“It’s just a really crazy, amazing thing,” Stovenour said.

The Plays in a Day concept isn’t a completely original one, though. It’s been done all over the world, from Broadway to Dublin to Los Angeles, although each one is tweaked to fit the location’s resources. Here, for example, there’s an abundance of trained and talented actors, but far fewer have an interest in being a playwright. It’s the same general idea, but the process and the product are a little different each time it’s executed.

“We did it for the first time ever [last semester] and got great reactions,” explained Struck.

And they’re hoping for even more participation than they had in last semester’s Plays in a Day, which produced six plays in the 24-hour period.

The timeline for the event looks something like this: meetings begin around 9 p.m. on Friday, August 25. Playwrights are assigned to directors and directors to actors. After this, the cast and crew members are free to leave, with the exception of playwrights, who stay and continue to work on writing their scripts, building each one around a line they’re given. The directors return at 8 a.m. Saturday, quickly followed by the rest of the crew, and they all work together for the next twelve hours as written ideas take dramatic form in rehearsal and onstage. The performance is at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Gordon Wilson Lab Theatre, located on the first floor of Gordon Wilson Hall. The final show is open to the public, and it’s free—no registration of any kind is necessary.

All students are invited to take part in the Plays in a Day this semester, and applications for prospective directors and playwrights can be obtained by emailing Reagan Stovenour at [email protected] and Nick Struck at [email protected]. Sign-ups for actors are still available as well. Freshmen, new students and those with limited experience in or exposure to drama are especially encouraged to attend and take part in the event.

The goal is to get everyone working together to create art. Each of the plays that will be performed are a collective effort of everyone involved.

“It’s really about cultivating new playwrights and new ideas as well,” Stovenour said. “We want a really comfortable environment to get people out of their comfort zones.”

Update: The 24-hour Play Festival’s name was changed to Plays in a Day after publication of this article.