CLEMSON — Nearly two dozen Clemson University students will undertake a challenge to write, cast, design, rehearse and perform four short plays in 24 hours this weekend.

The members of the student ensemble Theatre Unhinged will take on the challenge from 8 p.m. Friday to 10 p.m. Saturday.

“Play in a Day” is aimed at encouraging bold artistic choices with few resources in a compressed timespan. It works like this:

  • At 8 p.m. Friday, the company of actors, directors, writers and designers will meet for orientation.
  • Actors will present a prop to the company that will be used by the writers to craft their plays.
  • Based on these presentations, four writers will spend the entire night scripting short plays, which will run less than 20 minutes and feature about three actors each.
  • At 6 a.m. Saturday, scripts will be parceled out to directors who will be assigned actors chosen by the writers for their plays.
  • At 8 a.m., the actors will discover their characters while directors meet with set and lighting designers to create the worlds of their plays. The rest of the day is filled with rehearsals.
  • At 8 p.m. Saturday, exactly one day after starting from scratch, the curtain will rise and the plays are presented.

Spearheading the effort is Sarah Edison, Brooks Center coordinator and performing arts alumna. During her time in the program, Edison made directing her emphasis area and hopes the process will be a learning experience for students.

“‘The ‘Play in a Day’ concept interested me as a student in the performing arts department,” she said. “Having the opportunity as an employee to collaborate with the current performing arts students has been wonderful. This is a project that embodies Clemson’s determined spirit. It’s a group of artists thrown in a room who say, ‘We will succeed despite these time and resource limitations.’ It’s an experiment in creative problem solving and I’m very excited to see the results.”

The performance itself begins at 8 p.m. on Saturday in the Bellamy Theatre of the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts. Admission is free for everyone and no ticket is required. This is a “bring your own seat” event, so audience members are encouraged to bring a comfortable seat, such as a beach chair or sleeping bag. If you don’t have a chair, there will be chairs available.