This year, Lewis students participated in the fifth annual Black Box Blowout, formerly known as the 24 Hour Theatre Festival. The show is presented by Lewis University’s Heritage Theatre Company (HTC). Participants from the HTC have only 24 hours to write, direct and create numerous, ordered scenes to result in an epic performance. The process started at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 16 and ended by 7 p.m. Saturday, March 17. Overall, there was a total of six scenes, each displaying this year’s theme of passion. All participants of the festival were asked to use certain props in their scenes. These props include clown glasses, a clock radio and a canteen. Each scene had one common line of dialogue. The line of dialogue integrated was “Long story short, things got ugly,” which was used in a broad manner for each situation.
The “Black Box Blowout” was named for a type of theater space, the black box. The space is typically painted black because the dark background is great for the lighting, scenery and costume designs. The black box for the setting and background of the performance is an advantage as its uses are only limited by the imagination of the artist.
Each performance displayed forms of passion, ranging between friends, lovers, strangers and even a dog with its owner. All scenes seemed to portray a certain message that represent passion in various ways. There was comedy, awkwardness, drama and heart-warming situations that could appeal to any human emotion. The scenes had two actors each. Both used the props given sometimes in collusion with dialogue.
Although, Lewis students from the HTC showed little to no errors in acting each scene, with the minimal amount of time given to rehearse. Immediately after the show, there was a Q&A session. After being asked how the process worked for creating this show, some students expressed their exhaustion, as they were up until 2 a.m. just writing the play’s script. One student was not able to sleep at all within the 24 hours of creating the performance.
The production itself was very entertaining and enjoyable to watch. The HTC of Lewis University did a phenomenal job producing this performance in such a short amount of time. HTC board members and Lewis alumni were accompanied by festival leaders Jo Slowik ’88 and Andrew Nelsen ’04. Lewis alumni participating in the event include Kevin Bukauski ’17, Jordin Richards ’16, Taylore Cephas ’17, Kate O’ Neil ’15, Katy Papineau, Nicole Reidy ’16 and Jeff Weiss ’15.
Current Lewis students participating in the festival include Zackary Abu-Shanab, Briana Knutson, Zeusan Balquin, Bradford Bingham, Jacob Rodriguez, Jamie Voustros, Dorothy Blome, Christy Carlson, Ashley Stajura, Kayla Carson, Olivia Ferrari, Estefania Flores, Jennifer Glynn, Simon Merhab, Luke Murphy, Michael Palermo, Eric Redmon, Noah Slowik and Ted Veremis.
The show started at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 17. It took place on the main campus in Romeoville in the Studio Theatre located in the Oremus Fine Arts Center. The event was free and open to the public.
The next performance will be '13, The Musical.' It will be showcased April 20-29. Tickets will be available for purchase at the box office located in the Oremus Fine Arts Center on the Romeoville campus.