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  • Lee Parsons, Staff Writer

What you missed at ‘24-hour Theatre’: A series of efficient but wildly entertaining plays

Juno Tejchman (bride) and Arlo Craft (priest). Photo by Alma Snortum-Phelps

One night only, the “24-hour Theatre Festival” is a hurriedly prepared work of art that comes to fruition once per semester at Willamette. The production is written, directed and produced in just 24 hours by students. On March 10, this semester's round of plays featured “The Apology,” “The Problem With Nuclear Families,” “A Comedy About a Gas Station” and “Ligma Balls.” 

The first and longest play of the night, “The Apology,” was written by Ike Turman and directed by Vera Sieck. This piece of theater opened with a bride, played by Juno Tejchman, rethinking their marriage and being advised by a priest, played by Arlo Craft, who inexplicably spoke in rhymes. The groom was a puppet controlled by the third character and played by Vincent Tzu-wei Schillings. The priest was just as surprised as the audience at the reveal that the groom was not human and the bride realized the marriage was wrong, procuring a rubber chicken for the puppet to marry instead. The ceremony was carried out immediately and consummated even more immediately, much to the discomfort of all the non-puppet characters and audience. Afterward, the bride misinterpreted some priestly advice twice in a row, leaving and reentering drenched in blood having murdered the chicken — out of jealousy as they’d loved the puppet all along — and the puppet — so he would not be sad as a widower. The puppeteer entered then to deliver a monologue detailing their elaborate revenge plot that had caused this situation, but they explained they got their victim wrong. They had intended to exact revenge on the priest the entire time. Hearing this, the priest strangled the puppeteer and then began sorrowfully philosophizing about their sinful existence. Again misinterpreting everything said, the bride killed the priest. Deciding creators are the reason for their products' sinful existences, the bride then broke the fourth wall to threaten Turman, screaming “Ike!” into the audience, in order to threaten the “God” of the scene, before vowing to destroy the whole Willamette system of which “24-hour Theatre” is a product. Concluding the scene with an apology, the bride revealed that their destruction of the system was the cause behind the Wi-Fi going down!

“The Problem With Nuclear Families,” written by Savanna Starks and directed by Blue Kalmbach, featured a nuclear family living in Nevada on a nuclear testing site. As a result of their location, the closeted lesbian mother, played by Sharlies McEwen, had given birth to a baby that was born as a bomb. The family counted down from ten throughout the play with enthusiastic audience participation while each character revealed their deepest secrets. Naturally, the mother revealed she is a lesbian. The older child, played by Mia von Hamm, admitted that they are gay. The animated traditional husband of the group, played by Izzy Cornelison, shouted that he was sleeping with his younger male secretary. Each of these confessions was followed by the other family members screaming, “I know!” and once everyone was revealed to be gay, the family exploded. 

Kendall Morrow. Photo by Alma Snortum-Phelps

A “Comedy About a Gas Station” was written by Nick Zimmerman and directed by Kai Makino-Dilloway. The play featured an older man who had led a life of crime, played by Anya Jones, attempting to teach an emo teenager, played by Valentine Wells, how to rob a convenience store owned by Lin-Manuel Miranda, played by Kendall Morrow. The older man guided the emo teen through many attempts to rob the store, with each failing due to a lack of hidden identity, gun or declaration of purpose. Sick of being robbed, Lin-Manuel Miranda declared, “I’m not throwing away my shot,” and shot the teen before telling the older man he should go into teaching. After having tried to find a new path in life after quitting crime, the older man decided to do just that. 

Xander Taschioglou. Photo by Alma Snortum-Phelps

A punchy ending to the night, “Ligma Balls” was a frat bro-infused play written by River Hosten and directed by Elise Fashimpaur. Two fraternity members, played by Emi Keller and Xander Taschioglou who were referred to by their first names throughout the show, appeared suddenly on the stage unaware of where they’d been all night. With the assistance of the ghost light (a light left in the theater at all hours to prevent injuries when the lights are off) personified, played by Owyn Wyatt, as well as two rubber chickens and relatively open minds, these two bros came to be theater kids. Purpose fulfilled, the ghost light faded away and the two bros-turned-theater-kids were left to break the fourth wall ever so slightly to wrap up what they called the plot holes. Finally remembering how they got on stage together, with Xander’s shoe in Emi’s pants, they recalled loudly that they were gay lovers and then made out behind a cowboy hat to close out the show.

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Mar 21

Very well written. I felt like I was at the play. I really didn't care for the subjects but understand. I can see why not very many students watched them. I wanted to say kudo's for the writers and directors having the imagination on coming up with the play on short notice. I bet the actors was very helpful in bring understanding to the parts they played and revealed to the audience.

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