Irving Torres Lopez

Given 24 straight hours, students wrote, directed, produced, and performed themed plays during Festival 24 Saturday night at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts.

January 28, 2018

Students Write and Perform Productions Within 24 Hours

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Given the open-to-interpretation themes “weather” and “mix and match” and 24 hours, students created and performed four plays and one dance at Festival 24, a biannual event which featured the culmination of dozens of Cornell performers’ work this Saturday.

Co-producers Irving Torres-Lopez ’18 and Camilo Reynolds-Dominguez ’20 began recruiting playwrights, actors, dancers, directors, production crew and filmmakers in November and at 7:30 p.m. on Friday announced this year’s theme for writers and choreographers.

For the next 24 hours, the members of Festival 24 worked nonstop to write scripts, lead rehearsals, create sets, costumes and develop lights and music.

The process is “chaotic, nerve-wracking, wild fun,” said Reynolds-Dominguez, who has previously acted in the event.

The Festival began in 2008 with six plays but has since shifted to incorporate other art forms, like dance.

According to Reynolds-Dominguez, the pressure of the short timeline encourages everyone to do their best work. “The race against the clock inspires writers to focus on central themes and the actors to perform at their highest level,” he said.

“There’s just this camaraderie in having to put something together in 24 hours,” said Ilana Wallenstein ’20, who was an actress in a play. “It’s so rewarding when you get to work with people who are just as passionate — and tired — as you are. It’s such a unique and fun and crazy experience.”

Reynolds-Dominguez hopes to expand future festivals to include nonprofit work, and he encourages anyone to participate in the productions.

The doors to the Flex Theatre in the Schwartz Center opened to a full house at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Some pieces featured outrageous humor while others touched on more serious topics of isolation on campus and racism.

The topics of this year’s plays included a Chinese emperor and his concubines, a Cornell support group, a student’s attempt to become an actress, and dreams about Amazon Alexa.