Play-by-play of theater’s Play in a Day


Annette Leber, Ruby Mason

7:00 p.m., Saturday September 28: The blackbox theater is packed with students, parents, and faculty, all awaiting the collection of student-written plays created within the previous 24 hours. 

3:25 p.m., Friday, September 27: The process begins with a series of workshops corresponding with the four different roles: writing, directing, acting, and tech. The writers draft short practice scripts based on prompts that are then given to groups of directors and actors who practice and perform them as auditions. 

5:30 p.m.: Everyone regroups in the blackbox to watch the auditions. Once they are done, everyone except the writers and the Wilson Players (the producers of the plays) leave. 

7:00 p.m.: The writers head to the library to begin writing their scripts. When asked how much preparation was done beforehand, many people seemed to have different experiences. Senior Clea Tang and her friends came up with the idea that night, while junior Lucy Scalso said she came up with the idea the day before. 

10:00 p.m.: With only 21 hours left, the writers are still hard at work in the library. The Wilson Players and teachers Dan Iwaniec, Jonathan Shea, and Belle Belew circle around the room offering advice and reviewing scripts. Tang described writing as “pretty fun because it was just me and my friends trying to come up with ideas and a plot that was funny and that we hoped everyone [else] would think was funny.”

9:00 a.m., Saturday: The actors arrive at school to start the day of rehearsals.  “Directors and players come early, read the plays, and directors choose which one they want to direct,” senior Sofia Suardi explained. 

Scalzo, who also ran sound in addition to writing, explained how she did it: “I used QLab, which is an application and it pretty much allows you to play sound effects one after the other really easily.” She says the hardest part of tech was the timing with the actors. “I had fun because the crunch time of organizing it all made it exciting.” 

11:00 a.m.: “The Ballad of Picket” cast and directors come into the blackbox to show the players what progress they’ve made so far. “At different points during the day each play has “blackbox time” where the players can see the play… and [see] if anything needs work and then the costumes and tech is all put together,” senior Colyar Trimble explained.

6:00 p.m.: Actors pace back and forth, reciting their lines, while last minute costume and tech changes are made before the house opens at 7:00. “It felt like it was fast. Everything went so quick,” sophomore Zakai Robinson, an actor in “Dub and Friends,” explained. He said that despite the short amount of time, memorizing the lines surprisingly wasn’t that difficult. 

The 24 hour plays are always a highlight of Wilson theater, this year selling approximately 200 tickets.