Time is of the essence in 24-hour play festival

For college students, sleep is rarely a priority.

And on Friday, about 70 students at the College will put their insomniac mettle to the test during WIRED, a 24-hour theater festival in which students write, rehearse and perform six original plays.

The event culminates in a performance of all six plays on Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Travers-Wolfe main lounge.

This year, WIRED is sponsored by three campus organizations: All College Theatre (ACT), Inter-Greek Council (IGC) and ink. Each organization is represented by an arbiter, who casts his or her vote for best overall play, best writing in a play and best acting in a play.

This year’s arbiters are James Van Strander, junior philosophy major representing ACT, Bethany Allinder, senior English major representing ink, and Gabe Alonso, junior business administration/marketing major representing IGC.

If WIRED sounds unique for this area, that’s because it is. “We are the only people in New Jersey to be doing anything like this,” Allinder said.

WIRED first appeared at the College in March 2004, and has been performed annually ever since. This year, close to 40 actors, 12 playwrights, six directors and six production assistants are expected to participate.

While applications for actors, directors and playwrights were due on Sunday, there is still a need for production assistants.

“We can’t have enough,” Allinder said. “And there is no prior experience necessary.”

Even with no prerequisite experience, an impending deadline, few resources and no sleep, WIRED has managed to produce many high-quality productions.

“You’d be surprised at the quality of the writing that comes out of this,” Allinder said. “Entire plays come from $30 worth of props.”

With many students still settling into the swing of the new semester, it is easy to question the timing of the event. But the start of the semester is one of the few times students at the College are not bogged down with homework and other events.

“Let’s face it, January is a dead month,” Allinder said. “It’s perfect because WIRED requires so much sustained energy.”

Though WIRED is a lot of work in a very short amount of time, the experience is worth it for its participants.

“The amazing randomness of the whole 24 hours,” Allinder said. “It is an experience like none other.”