Fragmented into seven pieces, the Alpha Psi Omega theatre group assembled a 24 hour rendition of Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie” at the Vonnie Borden Theatre on Saturday, March 24 as apart of the annual Tennessee Williams Festival.
Differing from a normal production, this Southeastern production of the famous play was written, practiced and performed within a 24 hour time frame. In addition, to help relieve the burden of having one scriptwriter write the script, the play was fragmented into seven separate scripts written by different people.
“Part of the fun with the 24 hour is that writers don’t have much time either,” said co-creative director and instructor of theatre Jim Winter. “So we thought how do we have an evening of theater without burying some poor writer, how much can a writer logically type in seven or eight hours? It just so happens that the play is, as it’s written, seven scenes. So we’ll get seven writers, about 10 minutes apiece and you got an evening of theater.”
The play was well received by the second creative director as well who attributed the success of the play to having the artists be under pressure.
“I’ve seen shows that have had like four to five weeks for rehearsal, and they were nothing compared to this,” said LSU theatre alum and co-creative director Taylor McLellan. “It’s a testament to the fact of what you can do just under pressure, especially artists. When you put us under pressure to get things done, we get it done and this is proof of it. We did a 60 plus minute show successfully in a day and that’s a feat, thats very hard to do. I got nothing but pride in everything that i saw tonight.”
Another aspect of this production was that the proceeds from the event were going to be donated to the Rose Theatre in England. According to Winter, the ruins of the Rose theatre were discovered over a decade ago and soon after there was a group founded to make sure that no one builds over it in order to preserve it and later perform on it. Winter says that since many of the guys in Alpha Psi Omega are going overseas for study abroad in England this summer, they will present a check to the group from the proceeds they made for the night.
Although seen as an added stress factor to the acting portion, actors enjoyed being put on the spot and had fun while preparing for the production.
“There was definitely a lot of stress but it was also kind of fun,” said marketing sophomore and actress Sarah Callender. “Everyone was stressed out and then watching it come together was really neat and then hearing about the positive feedback from the audience, they were telling us how well it flowed. They really enjoyed it, so that made it a lot better for us.”
In addition to having the actors be on a time crunch, the production invited local artists who only had an hour to paint what they saw during the play so that it could be auctioned after the play.
“It’s a big challenge,” said McLellan. “But they accomplished it, they all finished their pieces and all the pieces look gorgeous. I’m very proud of it and i’m very happy they were able to pull it off. The other thing is is that it’s something tangible that audience members have the ability to take home. They’ll always be able to take home this piece anywhere from five dollars to 55 or more so they’ll be able to say ‘Yeah i got this piece at some crazy show that these college students put together at SLU,’ but it’s a story. It’s awesome. I’m proud of everybody.”