A late night for student playwrights

A group of students takes on a 24-hour challenge while trying their hand at playwriting

Emily Thibert working on her one-act play for the 24 hour playwriting contest in Actors Workshop Theatre. (Jennifer Will/The Omega)

TRU’s Drama and Theatre Club (TRUDAT) hosted a 24-hour playwriting contest last weekend, putting students to the test. The contest was a way to bring together like-minded individuals while giving them a space to work and the motivation to do it.

Emily Thibert, a fifth-year theatre student who is also minoring in creative writing, had an idea for a 10-to-20-minute one-act play and decided this year she was up for the challenge.

“It’s about these two people sitting in the common area of a mall, waiting for their respective friends, and there is a bird that gets trapped under the skylight. They are arguing about who should go get the people to get the bird out. There is some deep stuff that happens too and some reflection,” Thibert said.

Thibert says this idea was inspired by actual events and is a very literal play.

“I was in the Sahali Mall waiting for my fiancé, and there was a bird that got stuck in the skylight,” Thibert said.

Around midnight, 13 hours into the contest, Thibert says that she is halfway done and that things were going really well so far.

“I think right now it’s just coming up with the characters, coming up with their conclusion and how they’re going to change after this. And I know a lot of that is going to come from actors, if and when this should be produced. I think as a writer you have to choose your words well so they can make their own choices with the character. I think right now that’s the hardest part,” Thibert said.

Thibert adds that the writing progress might slow down around hour 19 of the contest, as it approaches 6 a.m.

“I’m usually a night owl anyway, so I’m hoping I’m not too crazy by the end of it,” Thibert said.

A prize is awarded to students who complete a script, including the first place prize of workshopping their script and having it produced by TRUDAT.

“If you do win, the TRUDAT theatre club will actually put on your show. I know they’ve done that in the past for a lot of the other students and it’s been so great and so much fun. Their support is really heartening to actually have that kind of community,” Thibert said.