Instant Play Festival Fosters Theater Collaboration


Megan Hearst, Staff Writer

The Instant Play Festival arrived this year in a whirlwind of activity, creativity and collaboration. For two days, over the 26 and 27 of September, theater goers were entertained by 14 funny, strange and often poignant plays Whitman students produced.

The premise of the Instant Play Festival is simple: Each night, seven writers were given 12 hours each to create a ten minute play. In the following 12 hours, the plays are cast, blocked and memorized by a group of volunteer actors, directors and tech workers. It’s in the execution that production gets complicated.

IPF has its roots in the 14/48 festival held in Seattle, which describes itself as the “world’s quickest theatre festival,” but Whitman adds a collegiate twist to the traditional 14 plays in 48 hours model. For eight years, Whitman College has offered an opportunity for 14 student writers to spend three weeks studying under professional playwrights (this year brought the likes of Sharon Bridgeforth, Basil Kreimendahl and Scot Augustson to campus) to prepare for the 48-hour push. It’s this combination of education and experimentation which makes the Instant Play Festival unique.21775933861_6f62b53918_oWEB

Finally, after all the preparation the time for performance arrives. Eager volunteers swarm in at 9:30 in the morning, and from there a flurry of activity begins. Actors get into character, directors orient themselves with the script and all across campus dozens of people go on the hunt for elusive costumes and props.

“It’s just amazing how so many different people from all different backgrounds are drawn together for two days of artistic collaboration and experimentation,” said stage manager, junior Alexandra Lewis.