This past March 27, the Hardin-Simmons University Department of Theatre put on their annual “24 Hour Shakespeare” on the Van Ellis stage.
The production consisted of theatre and non-theatre students participating all day and all night of March 26 to put on a full Shakespearean show the next day for its audience. Bailee Barrett, a junior BFA acting major from Cranfills Gap, Texas, and Kathlyn Messer, a sophomore BFA acting major from Abilene were this year’s co-directors.
“During [the 24 hours], we announce the show and cast, build the set and costumes. Then, participants must create lighting, media and audio in addition to blocking the entire show and memorizing as much as possible,” the directors said. This year’s production was William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Raegan White, a sophomore BFA theatre stage management major from Keller, was one of the performers in the 24 Hour Shakespeare and played two characters: Hippoylta, the queen, and Cobweb, a fairy.
“My favorite part was the ability to have so much fun performing. With any other show, you don’t have as much creative freedom to improvise during a performance, but since we had so little rehearsal time, the whole show felt exciting and new,” White said.
“I could not have been more pleased with how the entire process went and especially how beautiful the performance was,” Messer said. “We had approximatelt 70 people attend, and all donation profits went to the Hardin-Simmons Theatre Travel fund. I loved hearing the laughter of the audience and knowing that the work we put in could spark joy in [the audience members’] lives.”
This success was special for the show participants, and many reflected on their hard work despite having such a quick turnaround from the show’s beginning to end.
“Our pre-curtain talk with the cast was really nice because we could see all the work that everyone put in come to fruition as we stood waiting for the curtain,” Barrett said.
The two things the co-directors said they had hoped for during this process were a performance they could be proud of and for the cast to remember the experience for years to come. Barrett and Messer believe the cast and crew went above and beyond with both of these goals.