Thespians Unite! theater club presents 24-hour play festival Dec. 8

The University of St. Thomas and College of St. Catherine Theater Club will present its first annual 24-hour play festival on Saturday, Dec. 8. The performance will be given at 9 p.m. in Foley Theater.

This performance is free and open to the public. No advance tickets are needed.

The festival is the brainchild of St. Thomas sophomore English major, Steven Broszko, who is on the leadership team of the theater club, Thespians Unite!

It usually takes months to hold auditions, cast parts, memorize lines, build sets, design costumes, acquire props, set lighting and run rehearsals. The festival gives students the rare opportunity to write a script in eight hours for a play that is eight minutes in length.

"The writers will be given basic information, like a word or phrase that has to appear somewhere in the play," says Helen Buron, a senior theater major at St. Kate’s and president of Thespians Unite! "but the rest is up to them."

Many elements will be determined the day of the event. Writers will be given the number of actors for whom they have to write parts, but they won’t know who those actors are. Names will be drawn out of a hat to determine which roles actors will play. After a brief meeting with the directors of their plays, the actors will start memorizing lines and rehearsing as a group.

"This truly will show the importance of collaboration," says Broszko. "This will show what it takes to put something together as a group. I have some friends who have done this before, but the festival will be a new experience for the club at St. Kate’s and St. Thomas, and it will be a new experience for me as well."

Sets and lighting will be minimal, so the writers will have to be creative. Props and costumes also are up to the participants.

The festival will be planned and produced entirely by students without faculty involvement. It is open for participation by St. Thomas and St. Kate’s students of all majors; one of its goals is to get more students active in theater. While students have many chances to act in productions, the festival provides them an opportunity to also write and direct.

If successful, Broszko and Buron see the festival becoming an annual event.

For more information about getting involved in the festival, e-mail Broszko. If you have questions, call Andy Ferron, (651) 690-6831.