Cornell students prepare play from scratch

Cornell-o-drama will run roughly one hour.

Cornell College junior Rosemary Vigil stands on stage looking out into an auditorium of empty seats for the last time.

She introduces 'Cornell-o-drama,' a production she played a major role in creating, as actors rehearse ahead of Thursday debut at 7:30 p.m. at Kimmel Theatre in Youngker Hall on Cornell's campus.

The play began to take shape in late January, as Vigil and several of her peers participated in a process called devised theatre, a method of creating a play from scratch through collaboration and improvisation.

A month later, the modest-sized cast works tirelessly to hammer out their lines during the final rehearsal.

"I'm not 100 percent off-book yet," said junior Bobby Nowak, who is one of the play's lead actors. "I have the lines down, but they're not completely, totally in my system."

As if the challenge of throwing together an hour-long production in a month wasn't daunting enough, the actors will face an armed audience.

"It's really fun because [audience members] get to throw ping-pong balls at the actors during the show," said Vigil, who will serve as the director.

As a villain, Nowak said he expects lots of boos and hisses when delivering his lines.

"I expect a lot of ping-pong balls to be thrown at me, but I give the audience a 10 percent chance of hitting me," said Nowak with a smirk. "I'm just watching them hit the ground and I'm like, 'Okay, hit me with your best shot.'"

Aside from Thursday's 7:30 p.m. show, Cornell-o-drama will also run Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., as well as Sunday at 2 p.m.

Each showing will take place at Kimmel Theatre, and admission is free.

Click here to learn more about the production.

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