Guest writtern by Adam Donnelly. Adam is a Stage 1 English with Film student, and played the role of “Genie” in Jafar’s Turn: A Twisted Retelling of Aladdin    

Whether you’re on stage improvising an entire act, twisting rosemary beads behind the scenes to ensure the set doesn’t come crashing down, or simply gawking in the audience like the two old guys from the Muppets, we can all agree that the 24 Hour Musical is probably the most hilarious event on the campus calendar. When you discover how much can be accomplished in a single sunrise and sunset, having a week of rehearsals in other productions seems like cheating by comparison. It does, however, take a certain kind of personality to stomach the challenge. Masochists mostly, but others too. Early into the 24 hour rehearse-athon, and everything was smooth as butter.  The 50 strong cast were getting along nicely and the big ensemble numbers had been learned quicker than jackrabbit with a New York minute to spare. 24 hours?! Hah! Give us 24 minutes and we could finish this show and its sequel!

The clock struck 11 and we were trapped, locked in with only each other for company, and the Old Student Centre for travelling. A bit like Tom Hanks in that movie with the ball. I learned to not trust doors at this point, as any one of them could trigger an alarm if so much as prodded. It was also around this time that I realised just how vast this production actually was. From the tech team busily erecting lights in Astra Hall, to the production team building and painting the set backstage and the beautiful band preparing the musical numbers up in the Blue Room, all running in the same race against time as the we were to get the job done for Thursday night.

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As the wee hours of the next day crept in, we feasted on Pizza and celebrated a cast member’s birthday. What larks were had and selfies taken.

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This 24 hour nonsense didn’t faze us in the slightest. I sat in with the lead actors to practice the script while the ensemble went to polish their dance numbers to a mirror shine. I really can’t speak highly enough of the lead actors, especially Aidan who played Jafar. The sheer volume of dialogue and musical pieces that had to be learned in only a day was simply staggering and they plunged straight into it all without so much as a grumble. We were in bed by 4, with stars in our eyes and a song in our hearts. Then there was trouble.

There was anger. There was outrage. There was disgust when a dinosaur onsie wearing Fiachra awoke us at 7 to go postering.

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We envied his peppiness. For many, this was the end. We had long since joked about the fatigue crash, but by god the joke was truly on us. Yet we persevered, our bodily engines sputtering along on a diet of caffeine and sweets. After a good breakfast, we returned to rehearsing. The costumes came at 12 and suddenly we were once again jolted and energised, electrified by the realisation that the finished product was only a few hours away. We practised with the band through the afternoon and I was astonished at how slickly and sharply everything was coming together. Nobody would suspect this thing had been put together in 24 hours had that not been its main selling point. The choreography was seamlessly remembered, and the script had been retained far better than it should have been. We were excited. We were dead with tiredness. We were ready.

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An Astra Hall brimming with an eager audience only strengthened our enthusiasm. Warts and all, the show was a roaring success, and what mistakes that did happen were handled with such swagger and vigour that one could say they almost happened on purpose. Rapturous applause shook the walls of the place and I can’t imagine there was a single person involved in the process who wasn’t proud as punch at how it turned out. An absurd undertaking brought majestically to life by larger than life characters, and I’m delighted to have been offered my stake in the operation by Daragh Cushen, the great big genius who brought it all together. It was puzzle of many pieces, but only he could have made them fit the way they did. I would urge everybody to investigate the 24 Hour musical in the future as for me; it is the best representation of what DramSoc is. Shows of unmistakable quality are produced every week in that black box at the far end of the Student Centre but the 24 hour musical is something special, a glowing exhibit of the all-encompassing collaboration and hard work from every spectrum that goes into making great entertainment for an audience and cherished memories for the people involved. And all for a noble and charitable cause, no less.