Food? Well . . .
In a normal bake-off, a number of chefs compete against the clock and each other to produce winning recipes. The dramatic arts bake-off, on the other hand, is exactly the same thing—only different.
A race against the clock
Every fall BJU’s Dramatic Arts department hosts a bake-off where aspiring playwrights and actors—or any BJU student for that matter—race against the clock to produce a magnum opus. Competing writers have only 24 hours to create their 15-minute script, and then the directors and actors have roughly another 24 hours to bring the script to life on stage.
But here’s the catch. Communication faculty, who act as judges, require the writers to include certain elements in their masterpieces. For example, they might have to involve a chia pet or a grappling hook in the play. Or set the play on a deserted island. Or include a line of dialogue such as, “This is how I know I’m still alive.”
Anyone can write
The script prompts restrict certain details, but for Katrina Case, one of this year’s winners, the restrictions are essential. “I think if I had been told to write a play and had no restrictions on me, it would have taken me ages,” she says. She encourages students, especially ones who don’t think they are writers, to compete. “I’m definitely not ‘a writer,’ but I enjoyed it and it was a wonderful experience. The time limits and requirements will stretch them and they will learn a huge amount in a relatively small amount of time.”
Micah Thompson, another contestant this year, agrees. “It doesn’t matter if you’ve never written before or if you write every day for classes,“ he says. “Everyone has a chance to shine in the bake-off. You all get dropped in that 24 hour pressure cooker together and there’s really no telling what will come out the other side!”
For accounting major and first-time actor Michael Darlin, the bake-off has opened up an exhilarating new world of acting for him. “I realized afterwards that, for so many different reasons, I loved to act,” he says. “I did it because I knew that even though I would be doing it badly, I wanted to take the first step and then improve. It was part of stretching myself and in the end having fun.”
Although the bake-off can be nerve-wracking because of the short time frame, script-writer and three-time actress Katrina Case views the stress positively. “My acting experiences in the bake-off have been some of the most valuable and stretching of my life,” she says. “Eight hours total is not a lot of time to memorize lines, but you have no choice.”
The time constraints force the actors to develop their skills in interpreting the meaning behind the words. “If you can't remember the word, you must say the line in another way!” Katrina says.
She encourages anyone who can to take part in the competition. “People should be involved in the bake-off as actors because they will be stretched and learn to trust each other,” she says. “It’s a great experience.”
The four winning plays (2 dramas and 2 comedies) were put on in Performance Hall this past Saturday.
The winning authors were:
- Katrina Case — Life’s a Messy Kitchen
- Kristin Post — Critique: Pictures of Love
- Meghan Reimers— Like a House Afire
- Phil Neves — Knight of New York
The bake-off was created to encourage creativity and confidence in the arts, and this year was yet another success with a record 39 scripts submitted and both of Saturday’s performances sold out. Learn more about the bake-off in The Collegian.
Published September 28, 2012