Making SHT up

Spearhead Theatre’s 24 Hour SHT Show was inspired by Fredericton’s 48-Hour Film Festival, applying the challenge of a quick turn around, only this time with theatre. (Hannah Rudderham/AQ)

What do you get when you mix three teams, some random prompts, a panel of judges and only 24 hours? A “SHT” show – but not the bad kind.

Fredericton’s Spearhead Theatre’s first annual 24 Hour SHT Show was held at the École Sainte-Anne Theatre  from Nov. 29 to 30. During the competition participants assembled an original theatre piece in 24 hours.

One play, Power Down Hour, discussed climate change, politics and ice cream all within 10 minutes. The team had a fully functional set that oozed ice cream and two puppets that actor Paul Roy sewed.

“I chipped my tooth while pulling a needle through – that’s the one thing I regret,” said Roy.

Kelly McAllister is Spearhead Theatre’s founder and artistic director. This is the second event in the company’s history, and the first SHT Show.

“We hope to do it every year just to foster creativity and get the theatre community mingling with each other and meeting new people,” said McAllister.

Pre-SHT Show

On Friday, three teams had 24 hours to put together a one-act play from scratch to present the next night. Each team picked an inspiration package that consisted of a theme, a location and three lines that all had to be worked into their final plays.

Roy registered for the event and was placed in a group with two other people to create a play.

“[I hope to] broaden the range of people I know and have a good experience and have some fun creating something that’s going to bring some people some joy,” said Roy.

Roy had competed in the 48-Hour Film Competition as a producer from Oct. 18 to 20 and thought he would try the theatre equivalent.

Roy’s team, the SHT Disturbers, consisted of two other members, McKenna Boekner and Scott McAllister, both of whom had never tried acting before.

Boekner hoped to put his main skill to the test – writing. He is currently attending the University of New Brunswick for a master’s degree in creative writing.

“I guess I thought it would be a break from all my thesis writing. A lot of the work I do is just me by myself writing.”

“I’ve done collaborative writing projects before and really enjoyed them so I thought this would break me out of my individualistic mind frame.”

McAllister said he was most excited to try being on stage and that he was hoping to bring his energy and enthusiasm to the team while also gaining some laughs and good times.

“I think it’s going to be exciting,” he said.

“I think it’s going to be a literal shit show.”

During the SHT Show

Overnight and into the next day, the SHT Disturbers and the other two teams, Omething with no S and I Think You Know, prepared for their respective shows.

Judging the contest was Spearhead’s Kelly McAllister, Reid Lodge, transgender activist and theatre enthusiast, Scott Shannon, director and performer for Nasty Shadows Theatre Company and Jenica Atwin, Fredericton MP.

Team Omething with no S went next, going the Christmas route with their one-act play.

Jessica’s Christmas Adventure was about library employees who were tasked with organizing the annual pictures with Santa, an event that would help keep the library open. But when Santa showed up drunk, a grumpy girl putting in her community service hours, becomes the unlikely hero when she dresses up like Santa and makes it a magical event for all the kids who attended.

Olivia Joynt, a New Brunswick College of Craft and Design student who attended the show, she said she loved this play the most.

“I really liked the story behind it. It kept me interested and on my toes,” said Joynt.

“It was a lot of fun, I laughed out loud a lot.”

The third team, I Think You Know, put on a play called Please Hold. It took place in a janitor’s closet at school where two students annoyed and aggravated each other while stuck inside the closet, with nothing to do but make failed attempts at phone calls and create their own little world.

Post-SHT Show

After deliberation from the judges, awards were handed out accompanied by a set of tickets to a piece of upcoming Fredericton theatre.

Omething with no S won three awards. One for Cathy Doucette’s performance called Best Energy, and one for Kate Weaver-Bennett’s performance called Best Characterization. They also one an award for Best Costumes.

The SHT Disturbers racked up Best Set Design and Paul Roy won Team MVP.

Actor Kat Hall won Most Engaging Performance for the play I Think You Know.

Andrew Martel, the master of ceremonies for the performances and Spearhead Theatre’s marketer, said the participants left the theatre having had a unique 24 hours with permanent smiles glued to everyone’s faces.

“The other prize is really the lessons we learned in the last 24 hours.”