One Helluva Long Day

What do the following have in common: A necrophiliac, the Consortium of Underwhelming Gentlepersons, a kidnapped Guatemalan baby, the Christ, the Antichrist, Michael Phelps and endless, deviant, filthy Thurston jokes?

All were topics of Generic Theatre Company’s annual 24 Hour Play. The Saturday night show, which ran for two hours in addition to the 24 it took to produce, showcased the work of both veteran and novice thespians.

Junior Laura Feder, artistic director of Generic, called the play “a great way for freshmen to be introduced to Generic” as the group welcomed anyone who showed up at any point in the process.

The production began when the writers convened at 9 p.m. Friday night. At 9 a.m. the next morning, directors received scripts and cast their actors. The play was then performed at 9 p.m. the following night to a packed Lisner Downstage, a black box theatre buried under Lisner auditorium. The 17 vignettes included in the evening covered diverse themes that ranged from huffing cleaning supplies to beef jerky sales in the lesbian community.

The 24 Hour Play has been a signature Generic production for 10 years, but this year was possibly its greatest success, with more than 150 in attendance.

“I’ve never seen the Downstage this packed,” said junior Maggie Dempsey, an actress in a sketch about a bar joke gone terribly wrong.

The audience was alternately shocked, appalled and amused when company members threw out disturbing sexual innuendoes, OxiClean and political satire. While the writing and acting was occasionally uneven, neither was poorly received by the enthusiastic audience. One particularly standout performance included a freshman girl who wrote to her parents about life in Thurston complaining about the moldy bathrooms and her roommate’s escort service, but ultimately concluded that it was better than living on Mount Vernon. Others included a traffic safety public service announcement with a gay Michael Phelps that was performed multiple times in the styles of Neil Simon, David Mamet, Samuel Becket and Tony Kushner; and an a cappella number that simply asked, “Where in the world is Osama Bin Laden?”

Generic will be holding auditions for: Freshman Showcase, Sept. 6 from 7-8:30 p.m., Marvin Center 413; Red Scare on Sunset Sept. 6 from 7-9 p.m., Marvin Center 307 and Sept. 7 from 7-8:30 p.m., Marvin Center 414.

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