One set. Seven plays. Eleven minutes.
North Dakota State’s Newfangled Theatre Company presented a series of plays as part of the 7/11 Project. The night consisted of seven plays, each 11 minutes long, all of which were written, directed, designed and performed by students.
Two weeks ago, writers saw the completed set of old couches, a sawhorse comprised table and empty liquor bottles to write a script playing off of it. Only one week later directors held auditions to fill the roles.
This fast-paced, reckless-abandon structure gave students the freedom to fully portray whatever they may choose, with little to no inhibitions.
All aspects of the plays were quite polished given the relatively short time frame to prepare a production. This quality gave each play a very natural, free flowing feel, almost as if you were witnessing the creative process behind the inception of a play itself.
This feat is highly commendable for the students. Producing a show out of thin air is no easy task, but the Newfangled Theatre Company did it seamlessly.
The set for the plays was in the center of a room with the audience surrounding, emphasizing the collective energy and participation of performers and onlookers. One felt nearly like an omniscient spectator observing the action happening around them.
The feeling of being part of the staged events unfolding is enough to keep you incredibly invested in each individual play, and the performances of the actors only adds to that.
Full of subtle nuances and genuine reactions, the actors’ performances drag you headfirst into these 11-minute worlds. Whether the character is a vapid employee in hell or a stoner suffering a puppet induced existential crisis, the actors were able to pull it off without one realizing how unconventional the part really was.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the 7/11 Project was the writing. Many of the scripts were full of a blunt, dark, irreverent, deadpan humor that made for a satisfying experience. There was this strange duality between the macabre and the absurd that many of the writers took advantage of,
and that turned out to be highly effective.
A common theme throughout the night was a take on a study of the misguided youths and bands of millennial misfits of the modern era. The writing was self-aware and even poked fun at itself, which was a treat for the audience to experience.
The Newfangled Theatre Company’s 7/11 Project produced seven unifying yet individual vignettes to create a cohesive body of theater work that anyone should be proud of.