High school students create and produce three plays in 24 hours

Festival teaches drama hopefuls pressure of theater life
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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In 24 hours, 21 high school students put on three plays for one Saturday night showing. Students from Placer, Colfax and Del Oro high schools gathered at Placer High School Friday night for the first-ever 24 on 24 Festival. With the theme “real life versus imaginary life” in mind, the high-schoolers were asked to write a 10- to 20-minute play overnight, rehearse it the next day and finish in time for a 7:30 p.m. showing at Placer High School’s auditorium. Jason Long, Placer High School drama teacher, said the festival was a good way to introduce students to the pressure that comes with the theater lifestyle. “I think there’s value in the 24-hour performance because a lot of theater is high-pressure situations and this forces them to do a performance without self-editing,” Long said. “They just have to throw themselves in and go.” Placer High freshman Louie Tobin said he was feeling that pressure Friday as he stayed up late writing his first script. He started his script at 10 p.m. Friday and worked on it until 1:30 a.m. before calling it a night. He was up at 6:30 a.m. to add some finishing touches before nervously handing it over to his peers. “When I first wrote this thing, I didn’t think it was very good,” Tobin said. “But they said it was good, so I was like, OK.” Tobin’s play focuses on a spoiled mother who lives in her own world. As a result of her disregard for reality, she ignores and angers her children. “She lives in an imaginary life and doesn’t realize how it’s affecting her kids,” Tobin said. Tobin said he likes drama and he likes to act, but watching actors perform his work is exciting, too. “This is the first time I’ve written stuff for a stage, so it’s fun to see people do what I wrote,” Tobin said. Colfax High senior Lauren Wolf took on the role as the out-of-touch mother. She said it’s always interesting to play the “bad” character. “It’s a lot of fun because you never get the opportunity to be mean without getting in trouble,” Wolf said. The play’s director, Placer High senior Brandon Casbeer, said his goal within 24 hours is to help the cast “find their character.” He said he enjoys the pressure of putting on a play in a few hours when normally he has a few weeks. “The show falls where it falls,” Casbeer said. “You don’t get to do it again, so it’s just a one-shot deal.” Del Oro senior Arthur Henry was working on a separate play for Saturday’s show. He said he was interested in coming to Placer for the day to learn more about drama production. “I want to try to get a lot of experience under my belt before I study at college,” Henry said. “This is also cool because you get a taste of how other students interact.” Long said he and the drama teachers at the other high schools would like to continue the event next year and rotate which school hosts it. The teachers are working to make it an overnight event at a school site instead of students going home at night and coming back in the morning, he said. While jitters weren’t apparent yet Saturday morning, Wolf said she and the other students were looking forward to showing off their hard work Saturday. “I’m really excited about it,” Wolf said. “Everybody is in to it.” Jenifer Gee can be reached at or post a comment at