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24-Hour Theater Raises $8.8K For Local Playhouse

When the directors at the Westside Theater in Pocatello realized they needed a new roof, they knew they needed to raise funds — the question was how.

To do it, they crammed 50 actors, play writers, directors and stage hands in a theater for 24 hours.

The result was six performed plays and more than $8,800 raised to support the theater and help give it a new roof.

Four actors took the stage around 3p.m. during dress rehearsal Saturday. They got they their scripts at 7 a.m., and had to pull off the full one act by 8 p.m.

“I’m amazed I’m awake,” said actress Samantha Wortham.

For Wortham, the hardest part is having her way with the words.

“I think just memorizing the lines because, we get it and then all the sudden we get on stage and then they’re gone,” she said.

It certainly doesn’t help that those lines were penned by writers who sacrificed sleep for the sake of art the night before. But that’s all a part of the fun, said administrator and emcee Daniel Varas.

“I’m just giddy at this point. There was a part when I was so tired, but I just rolled a chair out and was laying there napping, watching the shows, and every so often I just laugh hysterically. That’s how it’s been,” Varas said.

The hysteria started six months ago when Varas and fellow Westsider Dana Harris embarked on this fund raising journey. They had heard about 24-hour theater and wanted to bring it to Pocatello.

“It has been intense it really has. I mean, at first, you know, we got a little tired, when we first got started because it was evening, but when the scripts started getting started, it flew by,” Varas said.

Stage manager Misty Trevino said even before the door proceeds and the silent auction that accompanied the show, they had raised $6,500.

“We were just hoping to raise a good $500. (We thought,) ‘If we can do that, we’re happy.’ As soon as the support started rolling in, we’ve been overwhelmed. It’s been wonderful,” Trevino said.

On stage, Wortham said she wasn’t nervous, just excited.

“Because it’s live theater and something happens always,” she said.

Varas and the rest of the Westside Theater plan to make 24-hour theater an annual event.

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