Bowdoin’s student theater group Masque and Gown channels caffeine and creative juice into their annual 24-hour show this weekend.

The process launches today at 7 p.m. and finishes tomorrow night with a show of completed works open to the public in Memorial Hall. The event is open to all students, but is geared towards those who have never participated in theater at Bowdoin, or who might not have the time to commit to a full-scale production.  As of press time, 30 students had signed up for positions as writers, directors, actors or technicians. 

The show’s layout is part relay race and part marathon.  Before the event begins, all the participants are broken into three groups. Then, tonight at 7 p.m., the groups split and the writers start crafting three short plays. The writing process lasts until 7 a.m. tomorrow, at which point they pass the baton to the directors and actors. This next group rehearses all day, and the tech team arrives later to coordinate lights, sounds and set until the curtain rises at 7 p.m.

President of Masque and Gown, Kate Kearns ’14, explained that the show allows students, “to get [their] hands dirty and get involved without the pressure.”

Kearns mentioned that the show is an opportunity for students—especially first years—to meet members of the Masque and Gown community and discover if theater is an interest they want to pursue. She called the show a “spring-board” for future involvement in productions. 

Most of the responsibility is given to the individuals participating in the challenge of the show, although members of the Masque and Gown board assist in overseeing the process. Other theater veterans participate in the writing, acting, directing and tech aspects. 

In terms of the creative process, Kearns remarks that there is more improvisation and it is “a little more free-form” than a typical full-fledged production. The time frame inhibits any considerable amount of set or costume preparation and necessitates less technical support. 

“It is a really exciting—and, you know, sometimes scary—thing to just show up to the theater and hope it will go well in the next 24 hours,” said Kearns. 

“[But] you really have done something with your Saturday,” she added.