Theatre slam showcases student work
Phoebe Troiani stands in front of a studio full of buzzing theatre- students.
The table to her right holds an assortment of unique objects: a trophy, a sewing machine and slippers embroidered in gold.
As the clock strikes 8 p.m. Friday Sept. 28, the angst and enthusiasm is visible around the room.
A theatrical marathon, the 24-hour PlaySlam, has begun. PlaySlam is an annual event in the theatre department. Students who participate face the challenge of writing, producing, acting and performing a play all within 24 hours.
“From this stage the first thing we do is get into meetings and then split everyone into groups,” Troiani, a senior who was in charge of producing PlaySlam this semester, said. “They go get their good night’s sleep and from there, the writers will stay over in the CFA to write their play.”
Troiani said the directors and actors convene the next morning at 8 a.m. to start 12 hours of rehearsal until the theatre doors open at 7:45 p.m. to let in the audience.
Steve Barroga, a senior theatre major, said he was looking forward to writing this year because he was a director during last year’s PlaySlam.
He said he was particularly excited about how to write a play around this year’s theme: deals with the devil.
“I have an all-female cast so I need to figure out how to do deals with the devil with all women, which is something that you don’t usually see in theater,” he said.
Barroga said he appreciates the relationship between the playwright and the actors.
“It’s very important as the writer to be able to step back and to know that no matter what you do, … you have to trust your actors and of course your director,” he said. Sometimes they can understand your story better than you do and that’s what’s going to bring it to life.”
Troiani said PlaySlam added a new challenge for the writers this year—integrating a specific prop into the plot of the play.
“We had a successful show last year so I thought, let’s step it up and do something interesting,” she said. “With new props, the twist that I’ve introduced I think that will be a really cool challenge for them.”
Linus Owen, a double major in theatre and international studies said PlaySlam is the kind of environment that stimulates his creativity.
“I think I actually work harder and better when I sit down and complete something all in one go,” he said. “I wrote a few pieces over the summer. I started a bunch, but I finished only a couple, but those are the ones that I sat down and did a first draft all in one go and something like this really pushes me to do that.”
Barroga said the guidelines of PlaySlam help to keep him in focus.
“We have less than 24 hours to get this show up and I think in a way that empowering, knowing that the show has to be between 10 and 20 minutes,” he said. “Usually you just have free range to write whatever you want but then you can kind of get lost in that.”
As for Troiani, she said what keeps her energized throughout the 24 hours is the sheer joy of a PlaySlam.
“I have been anticipating it for a while, since this semester started actually even since the first day of summer [when] I started working on this, so it’s pretty much something I’m really passionate about,” she said. “There’s never a time when it stops being fun and I look forward to the next thing that comes up.”