Masque and Gown, Bowdown’s oldest student-run theater company, recently challenged theatrical students to stay up for 24 hours to write, rehearse and perform plays for its annual 24-Hour Show.
The event kicked off at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22. Writers arrived at the theater studio in Memorial Hall to spend the night drafting scripts. On 7 a.m. Saturday, directors, actors and designers joined their peers to block, rehearse and tech the plays. By 7 p.m. Saturday, the play went up for an audience.
After Anna Morton ’15, the sophomore-class representative for Masque and Gown, gave the curtain speech to introduce the show, the lights went down and the theater studio became a classroom.
“Naptime,” written by Jacob de Heer-Erpelding ’15, Benjamin Rosenbloom ’14, Ricardo Zarate Jr. ’13 and directed by Carolina D. Streese ’16, featured two burnt-out kindergarten teachers complaining about their jobs while munching on students’ left-over graham crackers.
Jennifer Stobiecki ’13 played a sassy, foul-mouthed teacher with some not-so-nice things to say about her students. Her counterpart, Madeline Livingston ’16, was sweet, if slightly insane, distressed by how her beloved students forget her once they reach first grade. Livingston’s innocent wide-eyes played perfectly against Stobiecki’s smug glares.
The second play took the audience to an office where an angel and devil met to discuss their latest “assignment:” a young man by the name of Hamlet who appears to be waffling. “To Kill or Not to Kill,” written by Caroline Ferguson ’15, Jaime Wiesbach ’16 and directed by Trevor Murray ’16, took a classic story and presented it from a different perspective: the conscience.
Nick Edises ’13 played the straight-and-narrow angel, while Zarate brought a playful swagger to his devil. The colleagues’ rapport was both familiar and antagonistic. The skit was a great laugh for any Bowdoin English-theater major who has had to write an essay on Hamlet’s annoyingly inert psyche.
The final play consisted of short monologues concerning the mysterious Mr. Bearnstein. “Head of Branch,” a black comedy written by Petya Pevzner ’13 and James Jelin ’16, was directed by Jennifer McMurrow ’14.
In the play, actors Jelin and Rachel Pollinger ’15 never doubt the prestige of Mr. Bearnstein, but Emma Dickey ’15 has her suspicions. Even when she exposes Mr. Bearnstein as nothing more than a stuffed polar bear, her colleagues accuse her of being prejudiced against stuffed animals.
More than double the number of expected students attended the final performance for the 2012 24-Hour Show. Many were high school seniors on campus for the Bowdoin Explore weekend. “It was fantastic,” said Zarate of the full house. “It added much energy to the room.”
So why spend these 24 hours on such a difficult challenge? “Masque and Gown members don’t always have the opportunity to get involved in theatrical projects,” explained Stobiecki, artistic director of Masque and Gown. “The 24-Hour Show lets creative people come together, have a blast, and lets you express yourself with your peers in a way that’s fun.”
Photos and story by Margot Howard ’13