Review of 24 Hour Play Festival


Evan Baker starred as one of the archeologists in “The Mysterious Case of the Disappearance of Eloise Fisher,” one of the plays in the 24 Hour Play Festival. photo provided by Kerry Madden

Six plays. Six directors. Six playwrights. Eighteen actors. Twenty-four hours to put it all together. The 24 Hour Play Festival is a magnificent performance put on each year by  Trinity’s theatre department. This year, it featured six different plays centered around language — mainly the humor derived from its manipulation. I have gone to the 24 Hour Play Festival over the last few years because of my friend Danielle’s involvement in the Trinity theatre, but aside from that, I enjoy seeing the hard work put in by my fellow students. This year, I enjoyed seeing what the playwrights developed with the language theme, though I thought some of the performances stood out above others. If you missed this spectacular event, check out my recap of each play below:

“A Snapshot of Life”

Director: Sarah Bastos

Writer: Alex Bradley

This play seemed to focus on the idea that, while photos hold memories of our lives and are indicative of certain moments, they only show a glimpse of who a person was. The main character fought with her mother over “the precision of language,” as her mom argued that she shouldn’t say the word “shit” when there are theoretically much more specific words you could use in a situation. It seemed to be making a statement on how frequently we take photos and how in the past we valued the few photos we had. It was heartwarming to think our lives are more than just a few photos and interesting to realize that we’ve sort of lost that feeling today. All this being said, I thought this play jumped around a lot and was a bit hard for me to follow. That might just be because I hadn’t gotten into the flow of the theater setting yet, but I had a hard time understanding what the story was supposed to mean right until the very end.

“The Mysterious Case of the Disappearance of Eloise Fischer”

Director: Nico Champion

Writer: Allie Butemeyer

This play was so funny, and the best part is that none of it seemed intentional. Kody Nace had the best expressions and reactions, which makes all of his silly lines even funnier than Nico Champion and Allie Butemeyer may have intended them to be. The plot is something along the lines of a failed archeologist and his assistant who help another archeologist find a missing bone, which turns out not to be missing at all, as it was in his coat pocket the whole time. Instead, he discovers that he’s in love with his assistant, but somehow doesn’t realize that she’s also been impersonating the maid this whole time. If you’re confused, then that’s probably right. Not the easiest to follow, but goofy and heart-warming.

“Learning French”

Director: Mindy Tran

Writer: Holly Gabelmann

This was by far my favorite play. Not only was it entertaining, but also moving and dramatic. At first you meet a young man and woman at the library and are set up for a love story between the two of them, but then the story unfolds to reveal that the man has been using his study time at the library to teach French to an older woman dying of cancer. It was the classic story of a young woman who thinks her love interest is into someone else but actually he’s just a really nice guy who helps old people. It’s been done before, but the emotion that my peers put into this piece was stunning. I laughed out loud at Alex Bradley’s horrible attempts at French, and was close to tears when Briahn Hawkins gave an emotional monologue about the struggles of cancer.

“A Crane of Sunshine”

Director: Caroline Neeleey

Writer: Kody Nace

As someone who is unaffiliated with Greek life, I found this satire to be hilarious. The young actresses did a great job portraying the stereotypes of sororities and making a statement on the exclusivity of the clubs. I enjoyed their play on words with typical Greek life terminology and appreciated how much expression both Ren Hill and Sophia Elsadig put into it. The “crane” part might have gone over my head, but other than that, it felt like a relevant and entertaining piece.

“Real Life”

Director: Erica Schoenberg

Writer: Casey Deal

A play about the distinctions between social media life and real life — another relevant issue pertinent to all of us young millennials. The actors seemed to discuss the irony of how we essentially have two separate lives. I was confused by the set and whether the two characters were actually talking to each other or if they were supposed to be talking through the virtual world. I also wasn’t sure where exactly the connection to the language theme was. Nevertheless, I like seeing theater on contemporary issues that affect my life today, and I thought the actors did a great job of portraying the dissonance we all experience in today’s hyper-social media world.

“The Pombies”

Director: Kate Jones-Waddell

Writer: Erica Schoenberg

I couldn’t really decide if this was super adorable or kind of cringe-inducing. The three actors were supposed to be children playing in a yard, but I guess it was hard for me to get past their adult-like appearances and deeper voices. After the children play in their pretend boat, they become “pombies” — pirates plus zombies. They took the manipulation of language to the core, with constant new word inventions, as children do. It was definitely cute and brought me back to being a kid, but was a little over the top at times, and I’m not necessarily sure I wanted to watch whiney kids fighting on a playground. I guess that means the actors are good at their jobs, so props to these three for taking it to the max.