Play Date theatre festival comes to campus

By Jena O’Brien

It is not uncommon for college students to find themselves in situations where they have to write an entire paper the night before it is due.  On Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, a few Bluffton students will be faced with  this exact situation. However, these students will not be writing a paper, but will instead be writing and producing a short original play.

Bluffton University and its Theatre program are looking to start a new yearly tradition, Play Date, a 24-hour theatre festival that will allow all students on campus to come together and collaborate with one another to create these new and original plays.

Melissa Friesen, Communication and Theatre department chair, has high hopes for this new event.

“I’ve been dreaming about trying a 24-hour theatre event like this at Bluffton for several years, and am excited to see it coming together,” Friesen said. “Since there is such a brief time commitment needed to participate, this event is a great way for students to get involved with theatre, even if they have limited experience or are super busy. Play Date should be a fun way for students to create something new together.”

Play Date will start at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29 and run all the way to Saturday, Jan. 30. The performances will be shown starting at 7:30 p.m.

Students looking to take part in this event should attend the start-up meeting Friday night in Ramseyer Auditorium located in College Hall. During this short meeting, the roles for each of the students, the teams and the topic of the new plays will be assigned.

“For this event, we need writers, directors and actors. If you are interested, please contact John Eckenrode or myself,” said senior Amanda Bartel. “Please also spread the news to others. We would like to have a lot of people involved!”

Each student will be assigned to a team where they can be a writer, director or actor in each production. After the start up meetings, each writer will have until 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning to write a brand new original script.

Promptly at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, the writers will hand the completed scripts off to the directors. The teams will then  meet up with the actors who will prepare and rehearse for their performances later in the evening.

For those students who would like to take part in Play Date but cannot commit to the time requirement, Friesen offered another option.

“We also need a supportive audience, ready to cheer on the playwrights, directors and actors in these brand new plays. Part of the fun is not knowing what to expect until the lights come up!”

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