Playing puns produce knights, captains

Oswego State hosted its first 24-hour theater festival on Feb. 3 and 4.

The festival started around 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 3 when the writers drew the titles of the plays out of a hat. Then they spent the night writing the plays. The actors and directors for the plays came in at 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 4 to rehearse all day until the plays were shown at 7:30 p.m. that evening.

There were six plays with two directors; Jacob Luria and Robin Rubeo. Each play had a limit of being only 10 to 15 minutes long. The directors had to use a strange prop drawn out of a hat in three different ways and the actors for the plays were also drawn out of a hat.

“Everything was random. Some actors even had to gender-bend,” said Robbie Kristel, an Oswego State senior that coordinated and created the event.

“The idea [for the festival] came about last May from a bunch of theater students talking about ways to increase involvement in the theater,” Kristel said. “I decided to actually take the project on and began putting it together last semester by myself. Rebecca Anne McCarthy helped me out tremendously late last semester and continued to do so until the festival. We are beginning to organize another 24-hour festival for next year.”

Of the six plays, there were two comedies that were favorites among the audience and participants: “A (K)Night in Tyler Hall” by Colin McNamara and Dominic Dickerson, and “The Sinking of Captain Morgan” by Sabrina Young.

“A (K)Night in Tyler Hall” was about a boy named Tyler that is auditioning for the role of the knight, Sir John Falstaff, from Shakespeare’s Henry IV, in Oswego’s Tyler Hall, when he meets the actual Falstaff in the flesh. The title was originally drawn from the hat as “A Night in Tyler Hall.”

“We realized the multitude of puns that could be made with a simple title like that,” McNamara said. “That was when we decided that puns and wordplay would be at the heart of this piece. In fact, the subtitle of our play was ‘A play of puns, wordplay and some antics.’”

The duo “bent the rules” when they added the letter ‘K’ to their title. But in the end the audience loved the humor and wordplay involved and appreciated their creativity.

“The Sinking of Captain Morgan” was about two friends that go out drinking and one of the friends ends up getting so drunk that he thinks he is Captain Morgan, the captain of a pirate ship, which is sinking because he lost a game of beer pong. His friend, First Mate, isn’t nearly as drunk and tries to keep Captain Morgan under control. The play used a lot of pirate terms in inappropriate ways, which was humorous for the audience.

“I feel like it went really well,” Young said. The audience seemed to really enjoy it and that’s all a writer, a director and the actors can really hope for.”

Kristel hopes that the festival helped to get more students involved in the theater program, or at least influence others to support those involved in the art, music and theater departments.