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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

24-Hour Theatre Festival challenges students to create theater with limited time

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Ursula Saadeh
(left to right) Jonathan McPherson, Chloe Cyr, and Gioianna DiGiorgio performing their ten-minute play: “The Elevator.”

Baldwin Wallace students filled the Kleist Center for Art & Drama Friday evening and prepared to eat, sleep and breathe theater for 24 hours. 

The 24-Hour Theatre Festival was an immersive two-day experience where BW students signed up as actors, directors, or playwrights and mounted a ten-minute production on the evening of the second day. Students also attended master classes to learn more about theater. 

This annual project began over 20 years ago by BW Chair of Theatre and Dance, Jeff Herrmann, and continues to bring together students of all majors. Though it is a theater event, participation in this project is open to all students who want to be involved in theater. 

Elise Hill, a junior double majoring in stage management and acting and directing, was one of this project’s producers and its stage manager. She said that this event was an excellent opportunity for BW students, especially first-years, to explore their creativity and interact with other members of the Department of Theatre and Dance. 

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“This is the first theater event of the year, so it’s really great for first-years to just be introduced to the upperclassmen because in the theater department … you don’t always get to be in classes with upperclassmen,” Hill said. 

Beginning Friday evening, students gathered in the Kleist building to attend master classes taught by faculty and industry professionals. Students learned about various aspects of theater, such as acting, directing, lighting and sound. 

Senior B.F.A. acting student Eric Golovan, another producer of this project, said that the Friday master classes allowed students to learn about areas in theater they do not explore in their major-specific classes. 

Many new faculty members in the BW Theatre and Dance department taught the master classes, allowing for introductions among these faculty members and the students in their future classes. 

It’s a way for … us to get to know our new faculty, and the faculty to get to know their students that might not be in their classes,” Golovan said. “I think it just strengthens our community to have these master classes.” 

Returning for a second year after its COVID-19 hiatus, students could stay overnight in Kleist for the entire 24-hour experience. Golovan said that students highly enjoyed this aspect because “it’s like a giant theater kid slumber party.” 

That night, students assigned as playwrights received their groups and composed a ten-minute play, taking inspiration from their actors’ costumes and props. The following day, actors and directors met with their assigned groups and began rehearsing their plays. 

Hill said the project was “a good icebreaker” for students of all class ranks to get comfortable with each other while exploring their creativity and producing an unforgettable play. 

Golovan said that the 24-Hour Theatre Festival is a more relaxed experience compared to the other opportunities within the department. Although students only had a limited time to mount a performance, and there were bound to be deviations from the exact words of the script, the goal was to have a good time. 

“I think it’s very different from the rest of the shows that we do throughout our theater season,” Golovan said. “Most of our shows are handled in a pre-professional kind of way… but this is just a way to kick back and have fun.” 

The final performances of the 24-Hour Theatre Festival showcased BW students’ talents and the fun and creativity housed in the Theatre department. Golovan said this project reminded theater students they were “a part of something big.” 

“We are definitely an ensemble, and I believe we are a welcoming ensemble,” Hill said. “It just shows like BW and the community that even after the pandemic … that we are still here, and that we’re here to have fun.” 

The 24-Hour Theatre Festival kicked off the BW Theatre and Dance season by enchanting its audience and preparing them for the productions that lie ahead. 

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