The Bake-Off, one of the Theatre Arts Department’s most anticipated and original events, returns to Stratton Hall on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 7:30 p.m.
Don’t let the name fool you; although it may seem to suggest a culinary arts competition, the Bake-Off features the dramatic creations of student playwrights. Theatre arts faculty members select four winning plays from those entered by the volunteer playwrights, and these plays are presented in the Saturday evening performance.
The plays performed in the Bake-Off are unique—they are all written within a 24-hour period. The writing process began on Wednesday, Sept. 16, when the volunteer playwrights received their prompts. This information, which may include required props, lines and types of characters, functions as ingredients in a kind of “recipe” for the playwrights to follow. Scripts are turned in the next day.
Cameron Smith, a senior majoring in journalism and mass communication, said writing in a 24-hour period forces you to see when you can find the time to create. Smith wrote one of the plays selected for last semester’s Bake-Off and found that the prompts provided helpful ideas and structure.
The frenzy of production ensues as volunteer actors, directors and stage crew members gather at 7:30 a.m. the morning of the Bake-Off. The next 12 hours are devoted entirely to preparing and rehearsing for the productions that night.
Though the rapid realization of these creations poses risk for the unexpected—this spontaneity is exactly what makes the Bake-Off so memorable. Becca Gossage, one of the graduate students overseeing the Bake-Off, said the most enjoyable aspect is the craziness that happens on stage.
“Once the lights go down, you can’t control it. Anything can happen, and anything will happen. You just have to go with the flow,” Gossage said.
Janie Board, a theatre arts graduate assistant, also overseeing this year’s Bake-Off, described it as having a spirit of high-energy with lively reactions from the audience.
Participating in the Bake-Off is not just for those majoring in theatre arts; students from all backgrounds and in all majors are welcome to submit their plays.
“No matter what type of writer you are, at least participate in one Bake-Off. Enjoy the opportunity of really getting to expand your writing abilities,” Smith said.
Smith explained that writing for the Bake-Off also provides an opportunity to learn how to work with others. This is possible because of the large team—consisting of about 70 people—that cooperates to present the Bake-Off.
“Just do it—even if you have never, ever, ever done it before, just try it. You never know what you can accomplish unless you try,” Gossage said.
Tickets will be sold at the doors for $3.