Insomniac Theatre captures audience with late-night antics

Devin Dolquist and co-star have a final duelBYRON MASON II
Devin Dolquist and co-star have a final duelBYRON MASON II

Sleep deprived actors and directors fill the wings of Kerr auditorium. Audience members fill the small stage waiting to see the product of a 24-hour lock-in of student thespians.

The show is Insomniac Theatre, a collective of students who come together every school year to create and act out scripts created by other students. But there’s a catch: the performers only have 24 hours to prepare everything, which means staying up all night, hence the name Insomniac.  

Everything kicked off on Friday with the choosing of directors and actors for each skit. From there, it was crunch time until Saturday night.

“The writers stay up for the first six hours and write everything, and we’re given our scripts at eight in the morning,” said sophomore, Chris Douglas, one of the actors for Insomniac. “So I’ve just been studying nonstop since then. Even like eating while studying. Checking my email while studying.”

 The studying seemed to pay off; Douglas’s performance elicited rolling laughter and applause from the audience as he played out his role of a “dark wizard meme lord,” waving around a wand on stage and cracking jokes with orange paint covering his face.
“I just kind of went with it and the character came out,” Douglas said.

In addition to the pressure to create in a limited amount of time, writers for the Insomniac skits must include certain themes, applied in any way possible. This year, writers had to include a required character named “bigboy27,” a soup ladle as a prop, and use the line “Honey, you’ve got a big storm comin’.” Each skit put their own spin on these three elements, ranging from skits about monsters kidnapping people to a rendition of the recent remake of Steven King’s “It.”

 “They mold whatever they want out of things they’re given,” said senior Jerica Bean, who directed Insomniac Theatre this year and acted in some of the skits. “It’s supposed to be funny. That’s the whole thing about Insomniac. It’s just absolutely wild and you never know what you’re gonna get. People just write whatever and you gotta do it. You signed up for it. You gotta do it.”

 Although being a writer and/or a performer for the Insomniac Theatre can be hard with the late hours, at the end of the day, it’s a space where students can come together and enjoy themselves with friends and even strangers.

 “The shows are fun,” said junior Jacqueline Pelletier, another actor at Insomniac. “We just get to be goofy. As ridiculous as we want.”

Insomniac Theatre at DePauw

Film by: Charlie Sorrells