Audience members partook in a “one-night stand” with sirens, banshees and a love-starved Frankenstein during a Halloween and horror-themed play festival.
On Saturday, Purdue’s Theater Department hosted its first Halloween One Night Stand Play Festival in the Mallet Theater, located at the Yue-Kong Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts. The event was sponsored by graduate student Matt Schmidli, the creator of the event, and Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theater Honor Society.
Schmidli came up with the concept for the festival after being involved in similar performances as an undergrad at the University of Missouri. In the festivals, students were allowed to create their own concepts and scripts in a set time frame. He wanted to give Purdue theater students the same fun experience.
“I was involved in One Night Stand Film Festivals, and I’ve always wanted to create a similar event, but with stage plays,” Schmidli said. “I wanted students to have the same memorable experience that I had with the film festivals. I also wanted to give them the opportunity to perform in a horror play. Dealing with the [emotion] of terror is such a unique thing, and I wanted students to have that under their belts.”
The play writing process began on Friday at 11 p.m. in the lobby of Hansen Theater with five teams made of four to five actors. They were given an object, a line of dialogue and a monster they had to incorporate into their scripts. Each team was responsible for providing their own props, costumes, special lighting and sounds. On Saturday, the finished product, which had to be 10-15 minutes in length, was performed in front of a panel of judges and a live audience.
There were flesh-hungry ghouls who ravaged the corpses of humans; a lonely Frankenstein who wanted to create a woman with “legs like a Latino dancer” and “the heart of the healthiest vegan;” and banshees whose shrieks marked the deaths of soldiers in a war zone laced with explosives. One of the soldiers met his fate by ‘exploding’ in an array of arms, legs and guts made of hamburger meat.
Tyler Adams, a sophomore in the College of Liberal Arts, participated in the night’s festivities. Adams played an over-zealous doctor that discovered a sneaky siren whose eerie singing put men into trances.
He was pleased with his group’s overall performance and the way they handled the challenges of rewriting their script.
“I did not think that it would take my group that long ... but it ended up taking us 16 hours to finish it,” Adams said. “But it was well worth it. We forgot our lines halfway through had to make stuff up until we eventually got back on track and finished the play. No one was upset about it because we were having such a good time.”
Prizes and were given to the top three teams. Accolades were given to the banshee, whose blood-curdling shrieks earned her “Best Scream,” and “Best Death” went to Frankenstein and his pseudo neck-snapping abilities.
Schmidli, who created a play-writing course that is tailored for theater students, was pleased with the production and its turnout.
“Watching the event live was amazing,” Schmidli said. “Seeing the culmination of all of the team’s incredibly hard work over the last 24 hours pay off was something that I’ll never forget.”