Up All Night Performance Festival showcases poetry, improv

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Ryan Meyer, Multimedia Reporter

Saturday night saw a variety of student performances during the Eastern Department of Theatre’s Up All Night Performance Festival.

The event took place in the Globe Studio, which was filled to full capacity, leading to many attendees having to watch a livestream in the theater.

Students were given 30 hours in the Doudna Fine Arts Center to create their performances, although some came in with ideas that they had prepared prior.

In the case of William Meyer and his short play “Pepe Silvia,” he had it written for years before this year’s festival, said his partner Jacob Blanchette, a junior theatre major.

“He actually had it memorized like back in high school I think, so he was ready to go already, I’m just like way behind, you know,” Blanchette said. “Got to know the story pretty well, got to know those characters, so I just went for it.”

Claire Carmody, a freshman psychology major, also worked on an older piece, a poem called “Stained Glass,” during the allotted time.

“Yesterday we all just kind of met in the Globe at six, and people wrote a lot of stuff. I revamped a poem I wrote probably about two years ago,” Carmody said.

This year was Blanchette’s first Up All Night performance, and he said he would do it again now that he knows it isn’t truly “up all night.”

“I’ve done improv, little stuff like that, but nothing of this size,” Blanchette said. “I would do it next year, I think since now I know what I’m going into…I would do it again, maybe think about some things too. I just went in here blind, I’ll figure out, just do something, that’s kind of how I live anyway.”

Carmody heard about the event through both a class and orientation, and was then drawn to it by an interest in performing.

“I’m currently in Christopher’s (Gadomski) Intro to Theatre class, so he was talking about it, and then also we’d kind of been told about it in one of the orientation groups that I’d been in, and I like performing,” Carmody said.

Class brought Blanchette to the event as well, but he didn’t go in planning on performing.

“It was kind of required in the class, but I also just love theatre like this, where it’s kind of like a black box theatre, very lowkey, but I was just supposed to do tech, and then my scene partner William, he just needed another body, and I’m just like, ‘O.K., I’ll do it,’ and then it turned out to be really fun. We kind of disagreed on a lot of things but I feel like at the end, we just got it down well,” Blanchette said.

The last act of the night was Up All Night’s official sponsor and Eastern’s improv troupe Hello Dali, who performed multiple games with a cast of six members.

Two members of Hello Dali, Stevie McDunn, a senior TV and video production major, and Arron Whitt Jr, a junior theatre arts major, explained one of the games they performed called “Yes, And.”

“Essentially, you prepare to be unprepared…The material in the scenes are not prepared, all that is improvised, but in improv you do know what you’re doing, per se, and you do it listening to what your scene partner says, and then taking that information and based on whatever that offer is, you add something to that, and then they take that thing, and they add something to that, and that’s what ‘Yes, And’ is,” McDunn said.

“It’s pretty much giving your partner something to fight for,” Whitt Jr. said. “You want to connect with your partner. You got to give him something for him to give you something back. It’s like the three R’s, read, react and respond.”

McDunn also explained the thought behind the group’s improvisation and what makes it entertaining.

“Another thing is, we also try to play towards a conflict, especially in the scenic type of games, because that’s what makes the most interesting stuff, because every movie and TV show, etc. has a conflict in it. If you don’t have a conflict when you’re improvising, you’re just doing a conversation, then you’re not really doing it right,” McDunn said.

Hello Dali’s next performance is Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. in the Doudna Lecture Hall.

 

Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]