Students Take on Play in a Day

Play in a Day participants discuss their experiences


LEESBURG, Va: Play in a Day has returned this year hosted by Tuscarora’s theater department. Students were locked in the school for 24 hours and had to write and produce a one act play in that time period to then perform. 


Every year there is a secret theme that has to be the main focus of the one act. It is not told until the 24 hours starts, so no one can try and get a head start in planning. This year’s theme was “Post-Apocalyptic.”


“I felt the theme was interesting and provided a lot of room to create something original,” junior Madison Peshoff said. 


Each grade is separated for the competition. This year the reward was spirit points for Homecoming Spirit Week. This brings the extra challenge of each grade having a different number of people. For example, there were only seven seniors, but fifteen juniors. Each grade had their own area where they worked and slept. The seniors were in the black box, the juniors were in the band room, the sophomores were on the stage and the freshman had the chorus room.


“Me and the sophomore class slept in the auditorium and to be honest it could’ve been worse. I’m glad we didn’t get the band room because it would be full of spit,” sophomore Maryam Barokah said. “I kind of wish we got the chorus room but maybe it was just where in the auditorium I chose to sleep. I was on an edge so it was iffy but it was probably one of the better options.”


The competition’s judges have multiple categories they judge on. These include plot, keeping the audience captivated, how much the judges enjoyed it overall, acting technique, cast interaction on stage, sets, costumes, lighting and sound.  This year’s judges were Mr. Justin Daniel, the theatre teacher at Tuscarora, Ms. Alyssa Sera Josep, the director for Tuscarora’s  fall play Lord of the Flies, and Ms. Gabby Rojtman, the choreographer for Tuscarora’s VHSL show, We are the Sea.


“Judging Play in a Day was super exciting. Even though I had a seen the plays before hand while they were in the process of workshopping them, I didn’t know ultimately what the final product would look like. More than anything it was super rewarding to know that our department is filled with tons of passionate, creative minds,” Ms. Sera Josep said.  


This year the seniors won first place, followed by the juniors in second place, and the sophomores in third place. 


“My favorite was the seniors, because it was so stupid that it was funny. The people in the roles were not expected. I did not expect to see Jose Guerrero as an old woman,” Jaidan Braddock, a senior who watched the show noted.

There was only one freshman, Peyton Gull, who performed with the sophomores after the other freshman decided they could not do Play in a Day anymore, leaving in the morning a few hours before the performances. 


“I felt really loved when I performed with the sophomores. Like how the freshman couldn’t do it and the sophomores were like, you know what Peyton? Come be in our show,” Gull said, “Then they kind of just embraced it. I really felt like a theatre family because we came together.”


The seniors put on a comedy show they called Married at First Bite, a spin off of the reality show Married at First Sight. The show focused on a girl who was marrying a zombie, but didn’t realize the love of her life was a zombie. The rest of the guests, such as the crazy exes and the controlling mother-in-law, knew and tried to stop the wedding. 


“I did a little bit of everything,” stated Claudia Hunn, senior, who played the bride’s crazy scientist ex, “I wrote, I costumed, I acted and I also helped build sets that we had. I also helped block. I think we all switched around the roles and dabbled in everything.”


The juniors put on a show called The Virus. The show was about two bunkers that were next to each other where the people inside did not realize how close they were to each other. The characters had multiple stereotypes, such as the mean ones, the girl obsessed with her phone and the scared anxious one. There was also a love story about two of the characters being in separate bunkers trying to reunite with each other. 


“I played the paranoid character in one of the bunkers. I was like ‘oh my god the virus is like in me’ and then it was actually not. I was the one that was more scared and making everyone else paranoid as well,” said Emma Hect, junior.


The Bunker was the name of the one act play the sophomores put on. It had two shows happening simultaneously. One about a family living in a bunker while the other showed people outside, living their normal lives. 


To explain the duo show in more depth, D’Andre Bullock, sophomore, playing the oldest son in the family said, “One was about this family trapped in a bunker and they think that life outside the bunker is horrible because it’s an apocalypse but in reality in the second story it is happiness. The irony of it is that it’s not as bad as they think.”


One thing everyone agrees on is that Play in a Day in a stressful environment. Not everyone truly understood what they were getting themselves into, which caused a bit of tension. The arguments heighten when everyone is tired after only getting four hours of sleep. Many people felt unheard in the bigger groups. 


When asked about cons of Play in a Day, Gull said, “Being together for too long. I love everyone, don’t get me wrong, but I get tired of some people.” 


“I absolutely would do it again! I think that Play in a Day is so fun for as chaotic, and sometimes stressful, as it is at the end of the day. It’s one of the greatest payoffs to be able to say you wrote something and performed it in twenty four hours, and have it be an actual production you did on stage,” stated Hunn. 


Play in a Day was difficult, but a great success for all involved.


“It was really challenging because everyone in our grade is so headstrong, so everyone was constantly fighting. But in the end it was still fun,”  Phifer stated. 

To learn more about Play in a Day, watch Dillan Vanzego’s video, Dillan Discovers Episode 2: Play in a Day via @thsthepack on Instagram.