Each semester, the RC Players hold their Red Eye Theatre, a spectacular event that is succinctly contained within the confines of a 24-hour period, starting on Friday evening and ending in a showcase performance on Saturday night. What happens in between?
Students audition to write, direct, and/or act in pieces that are concocted and created based on the group of performers present. The group comes together for the first time on Friday evening in East Quad, meeting each other briefly before teams split up to do their own work. While the actors sharpen their improv skills and bond with each other, the writers are banging out comedy skits for their assigned casts.
Sometime in the early morning, the actors and directors finally receive their scripts, and from then on it’s a race against the clock to put it on the stage: fully blocked, set, costumed, memorized, and energized. This is all unseen to the audience, who roll in at about 8pm to witness the products of this bizarre sleep-deprivation process.
Before the Red Eye acts, there was a delightful performance by the Improfessionals—a UMich comedy improv group who set the stage for the wacky comedy ahead.
The Red Eye acts did not disappoint. The first act took a “princess switch” approach to a prince who doesn’t want to get married (Kyle) and a lonely peasant who just wants a girlfriend (Mina). In a fantastic fairy tale ending, the prince follows his musical dreams and gives a concert for the kingdom, the queen falls in love with the Mina’s rock-eating mother, and Mina ends up with the princess Kyle was supposed to marry. The second act was a twisted play on Dora the Explorer: Boots is feeling like Dora doesn’t see him as an important part of the team anymore. As Backpack and Map are mysteriously murdered one after the other, it’s discovered that Boots will truly stop at nothing to get Dora’s attention.
Broad summaries don’t do justice to the amount of comedic detail and timing put into the performances, a testament to the work put into these pieces over the span of just 24 hours. The actors brought full energy and action to the pieces, and it worked: even I, who had gotten a full 8 hours of sleep, found myself cackling at the delirious humor that had been created and performed as the result of a group collective all-nighter.
The next Red Eye won’t be until the Fall 2022 semester, but if you’re interested, keep an eye out for how to get involved. Or, if staying up all night isn’t your style, at least make sure to check it out next time it hits the stage.