24-hour play fest caps scholars program

Sammy Caiola

Students in the Kaplan Humanities Scholars Program participated in a 24-hour play festival Friday as a capstone event after two semesters of hard work.

About 35 students were divided into teams of writers, directors and actors and challenged to put on a series of 10-minute shows the next night. The writers were given prompts at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

After a full night of scripting and a 3 a.m. read-through, the writers finally went home at 7:30 a.m., at which point the directors and actors were brought in to rehearse for the show at 7:30 p.m. that night, Kaplan instructor Chloe Johnston said.

“Overall it was a really good experience,” Weinberg freshman Sarah Beck said. “It was definitely a long day. To put everything together in 24 hours was challenging. But I think everyone did a good job.”

The Kaplan Humanities Scholars Program selects 48 students each year to participate in two courses during both Fall and Winter quarters, according to the program’s website . Kaplan scholars study authors, artists and thinkers in a variety of disciplines.

Kaplan instructor Greg Laski said the prompts for the play festival were all related to texts the students studied this year, including “Twelfth Night,” “Candide” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” The content of the plays ranged from gender differences to suicide, and addressed issues such as drug use and romantic tension. In order to provide context for their shows, writers and actors were able to leave during a lunch break to gather the necessary props and costumes, Johnston said.

Johnston, a Communication graduate student in performance studies, said she worked with students almost the entire time during the festival. Though the Kaplan program is not a theater program, the students were required to write and stage skits for their final project winter quarter.

“It became clear that it was about more than working together for 24 hours,” Johnston said. “This is a group that has known each other for two semesters. They have a real sense of ensemble and experience performing.”

Former Kaplan graduates were invited to participate in the play festival as well. Weinberg junior Adam Masurovsky, who acted in one of the plays, said this was his first experience as a thespian.

“They asked older people if they wanted to come back, and I thought it would be fun because I’ve never acted before,” Masurovsky said.

Weinberg freshman Hanchen Wang, a writer for one of the plays, said the night was “caffeine-fueled” and long, but he enjoyed spending time with other Kaplan students.

“I feel sleep deprived but happy,” Wang said. “It was good to see everyone again. It connects a lot of threads that were first laid out when we met in the fall.”

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