Seventh Annual 24-Hour Play Festival

On January 11th and 12th, Vermont Academy held the seventh annual 24-Hour Play Festival. The 24-hour clock began on Saturday at 7 p.m. with all participants gathering in the Nita Choukas Theater to receive their assignments, themes, and props.
Once all the guidelines and details were provided, the writers headed to the Great Room in Fuller Hall to begin writing at approximately 8 p.m. English teacher and veteran 24-hour play supervisor, Ms. Jo Fuller said, “Every year is a little different, but the writing roles tend to be the most coveted spots.  This year we had five writing troupes of 2-5 students. Focus and collaboration were the strongest traits of this year's writers. By 2 AM all the plays were ready for the stage. Over the course of the night, writers took the initiative to share their work with the other teams for feedback.  This is the kind of peer editing VA encourages in their academic writing program, and it was thrilling for me as the WSAC director to see the students initiating this practice. The plays were good because the writers supported each other by listening, offering suggestions, and becoming fans of each other's work.” 

Ms. Fuller noted that her role is as a mentor. She helps the writers fill plot holes and inconsistencies and tells them when the audience needs more information to understand what is happening. She also advises them to have a plot by 10 p.m. and a draft by midnight. In her experience, if the writers don't have a complete play by 2 a.m. things can fall apart as they get punchy and sleepy. 

After the writers got a few hours of sleep, they met Mr. Burmester and the directors at 7 a.m. for conversations about the plays before they headed to bed again. Two hours later the actors arrived eager for their assignments and to begin memorizing their lines. In the proceeding hours the directors, actors, stage managers, and technicians worked to bring the five plays to life. 

First-year actor Grace ’22 said, “I enjoyed the play, as I explored new talents and faced a new challenge. It was fun and exciting to learn what the performers/ actors here at Vermont Academy do. I can see why they enjoy it, but I have noticed that it takes skill and grit to learn the lines and be able to perform in front of a crowd. It was a fun experience exploring a new horizon of myself, with support from my peers, and my group, that became a family that night. I recommend everyone to try it because it’s really a great experience.” Director and actor Eliza ’22 added, “I thought my play was going to be horrible. When we practiced it was very boring and we were all terrified to go on stage, When we went on stage we all forgot our lines and then chugged lots of Ranch!”

At 7 p.m. five comical, diverse, and silly plays were performed in Nita Choukas Theater. In the first, “Snap in the Bio," the audience was taken to a dorm room to see a critique of teens and social media. In the second play, “Road Trip,” Eva ’21 stared as a girl determined to go on a year-long road trip and was in search of someone to go with. The third play, named “Lord of the Tolls,” math teacher Mr. Choos played a toll collector who got into an altercation with a self-centered teen played by Siyang ’20. 

The fourth play was set in a dance studio with Davon ’20 starring as the dance coach. The final play,  “Ranch,” was set on the Sturtevant Porch and featured Eliza ’20, Science Teacher Ms. Armiger and Corey ’20 all drinking ranch dressing. 

Full List of Participants

Writers: Ms. Merideth Friel, Maggie Adams ’20, Maggie Hodgson ’21, Jenna Powers, Lexi Farwell ’22, Grace Boynton ’21, Hannah Sethi ’20, Lexi Filler ’21, Logan McAllister ’20, Alex Paluszek ’20, Jordan Loya ’20, Jessica Sujishi ’22, Caroline Keller ’20, Cam Feloney ’20, Aaron Brown ’20, Ali Lakhani ’21.
Directors: Skye Ryan ’21, Mia Henum ’22, Eliza Asante ’22, Lauren Eppinger ’20, Edward Ahn ’20
Actors: Patrick Wu ’21, Izzy Segui ’21, Danielle Mcarthy ’22, Mr. Will Norton, Lee Issacs ’21, Ms. Cynthia Murphy, Eva Wu ’21, Ella Yang ’23, Susannah Pennell ’23, Ms. Robin Patch, Siyang Wang ’20,  Drew Choos, Andy Jeon ’22, Corey Dunn ’20, Candy Li ’21, Sydney Chute, Ms. Christine Armiger, Elliott Carr, Liv Brooks ’23, Julia Small ’23, Grace Bazin ’22, Davon Johnson ’20.
Sound: Cedar Jones ’20
Stage Crew: Trevon Palmiotto ’21, Matt Sorensen ’21, Hale Goodnow ’21, Ms. Amy Lanterman
Organizers/Supervisors: Mr. Dan Burmester, Mr. Steve Cady, Ms. Jo Fuller
Theater Intern: Miranda Fuller '19