Abbey Players Present 24-Hour Play Festival

February 17, 2021

By Alex Fischer '21

On Feb. 6, the Anselmian Abbey Players took the stage in their first event of the spring semester. Their 24-Hour Play Festival had students writing, directing, and rehearsing five new plays in the 24 hours leading up to the performance. At 6:30 p.m., in the Koonz Theatre, Saint Anselm College students stepped into the lights where they provided a cost-free night of entertainment for those on campus.

Each show had a cast of three actors, and in addition to the writer and director, had the support of a 10-person production and technical team, all Saint Anselm College students. In order of performance, the shows were as follows:

  • Breath, written by Ryan McDonough ’22 and directed by Mia Tidd ’24
  • [working title], written by Bryan Lavoie ’22 and directed by Macy Doucette ’22
  • Slow, Children, written by Meg Query ’24 and directed by Isabelle Nee ‘21
  • Where Do the Horses Go?, written by Meaghan McCabe ’21 and directed by Morganne Mutkoski ’22
  • The Scottish Play (Brought to You by Uber), written by Nicole Sherwood ‘21 and directed by Madison McKeon ’21

“I’d been a part of four or five 24-hour plays in high school, both as a playwright and as an actor/director, so the experience was quite familiar to me,” said Abbey Player Nicole Sherwood ’21. Sherwood spoke on the process to select the actors and directors for each play. “Everything was pulled out of a hat, so it was completely random, and waiting for my names to be called was a real nail-biter,” she said.

Sherwood began writing her show The Scottish Play (Brought to You by Uber) at 8:30 p.m. the night before the production, finishing up at midnight. Leading up to her play’s performance, she was anxious that the jokes were only funny to her sleep-deprived brain at the time of writing them. Much to her enjoyment, the cast, led by director McKeon, knocked the performance out of the park. “I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out, and it was absolutely a wonderful experience to be a part of.”

From an audience's perspective, having great actors will make it difficult to not be entertained during a performance. “When you have confidence in your actors, it opens up a whole new world of scenarios you can explore,” added Sherwood in praise of her cast: Courtney Hull ’23, Christine Quirion ’22, and Charlotte Walsh ’22. However, she was not alone in praising the accomplishments of the night; Professor Daniel Bird Tobin, director of the Abbey Players, commended the efforts of the shows. “The students accomplished something truly magical, creating five brand new plays in just 24-hours all while being safe with COVID-guidelines,” he said.

If you were unable to attend the 24-Hour Play Festival, there are additional productions on the calendar - Improv Show II (March 12, 2021), Life at Saint Anselm (Formerly The Family Weekend Show) (March 19 & 20, 2021), Cabaret Night (April 9 & 10, 2021), and Macbeth (April 30-May 2, 2021).

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