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Sunday April 2nd

LAB! Theatre puts on a 24-hour festival

<p>David Fine and Kelsey Sutton</p>
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David Fine and Kelsey Sutton

Artists must suffer for their work, but not all artists suffer the same. 

This Friday and Saturday, LAB! Theatre will be performing their 24-hour play festival. 

LAB! Theatre is UNC’s oldest student-run theater group, specializing in experimental theater. 

This is not a play that lasts 24 hours. It is an event where LAB! members and interested participants write, produce and perform six different plays in 24 hours. 

The process will start at 9 p.m. Friday when everyone participating in the event will gather together. Then Reid Scothorn, a senior political science and history major and an executive producer for LAB!, will kick things off. 

“The writers have creative freedom,” Scothorn said. “But everyone is encouraged to bring in props for the introductory meeting. This can be anything — an empty wine bottle, a teddy bear. Last year someone brought in a bright red top hat.”

After the kickoff, the writers will go to a separate house and write through the night until 6 a.m. 

The plays produced during this time reflect the frenzied period they were written in. 

“Last year, we had a tinder date between a college student and an eternal lord of hell, Nelson Mandela talking to a Rubik's Cube and two girls camping, who keep getting attacked by tiny plastic hands," Scothorn said. "But the cool thing is it always generally works.”

At 6 a.m., the writers email their works to the directors who then spend the next couple of hours reviewing the plays. The directors will then each pick a play to direct. 

Suraj Vege, a UNC student majoring in biology and a member of LAB!, said this atmosphere of chaos and collaboration is what he loved about the event. 

The actors will then be called in, and the directors will cast each of their shows. The remaining time is spent rehearsing and adding technical elements to the shows.  

LAB! executive producer Rob Piscitelli, who participated last year as an actor and will be a director this year, said this was his favorite part of the event. 

“It was just crazy because we were working non-stop all day,” Piscitelli said. “There was a lot of problems that came up, and we had to find solutions in the moment. Usually, when you put on a show, it takes around four weeks and we’ve condensed it down to 24 hours. So, it’s an artistic challenge that totally stimulates everyone participating.”

At 7 p.m., the doors will open at Hanes Art Center, and the shows will be performed at 7:30 p.m. with everything wrapped up by 9 p.m. Saturday. 

The shows are open to the public and free to attend. 


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