COMBAT: Could you do all this in only 24 hours?

Every year BU’s theater groups are challenged to write a script, rehearse and put on a show within 24 hours.

This 24 hour theatrical event is called COMBAT, and the BU theater groups who performed this year are Stage Troupe, Wandering Minds, BU on Broadway and the improv group Liquid Fun. But how exactly does COMBAT work?

Step One: The Mystery Envelope

The Wandering Minds team brainstorming what to write in their COMBAT script. Photo by Meghan Cronin.

The process of COMBAT is broken up into many different steps. The first phase begins precisely at 8:00 pm, where one member from each writing team meets an official of COMBAT in the Tsai Lobby. The member is given a mysterious envelope which contains instructions.

The instructions include certain subjects and objects that each team must integrate into their script. From there they separate into their own groups and begin to write a script nonstop from 8:00 pm to 8:00 am. At 8:00 am each group must submit a synopsis to their COMBAT official.

The time constraint is definitely a fun challenge for these theater groups. Rachel Jiang (CAS’20) said she was impressed by “how fast they are able to write, memorize, and perform.”

Both Jiang and Rabiah Rowther (COM’18), Vice President of BU’s Shakespeare Society, agree that the most difficult thing about COMBAT’s 24 hour time limit is “coming up with something original” in order to “make something that stands out and is important and defines their group as well.”

Maddie Hren (CAS’18), the VP of BU on Broadway, was up for 24 hours writing. She thinks that the “hardest part was at 5:15 am when we just needed to find a quick way to end the musical.”

Step two: Putting everything together

Wandering Minds rehearsing for COMBAT. Photo by Meghan Cronin.

Starting at 10:00 am Saturday morning, each writing team had began to rehearse their script with their theater group. For two hours each group was given access to the performance space to rehearse with tech.

By 6:30 pm all the different theater groups met in the student theater and began tech rehearsal.

Rowther said that COMBAT is a “combination of all different production elements; it’s basically attesting to the fact that we can create performances with just a line and a few other props.” She said she loves “the idea of being able to work with people in other theater groups and being able to create a fast paced progression of a performance.”

Jiang said COMBAT gives a sense of unity to the theater community but also physically “brings all the theater troupes together, it’s really nice.”

For Abby Kass (CAS’18), the VP of special projects of Stage Troupe, and the organizer of this year’s COMBAT said that “it’s really important because it’s the only event that brings the student theater community at BU together, and it’s really fun.”

Step Three: Performances

Liquid Fun performing during COMBAT. Photo by Meghan Cronin.

This years COMBAT was definitely not a show to be forgotten.

Starting off with the actors that began COMBAT at 8:00 pm was BU’s improv group Liquid Fun. Their improvised act was entertaining and impressive as they got a lot of crowd laughs without memorizing a script. They did so by reenacting scenario’s of the TV show Punked. With men hiding in a corn field, they took the audience on a hilarious adventure of a boy finding the true meaning of art through Sudoku. 

BU on Broadway performing during COMBAT. Photo by Meghan Cronin.

BU on Broadway exceeded expectations by far when they said that their show was going to be “a lot of flamboyance and catchy show tunes.” Their show was one of the most creative renditions of The Bachelor in Paradise gone wrong with multiple different characters like Barbie, Sims, Tom Cruz (not the movie star), a Jewish witch, Molly the drug, a flight attendant and many more all stuck on an island together.

Not only was their performance funny but it also conveyed a very nice message about equal rights.

Wandering Minds performing during COMBAT. Photo by Meghan Cronin.

Wandering Minds’ performance during COMBAT was very exciting as middle school students rose up against the school system. The best part was how each actor portrayed the script’s diverse range of characters. With a very complex background story of how the fidget spinner was created and the appearance of an almighty Marilyn Manson, their show came together perfectly.

Stage Troupe performing during COMBAT. Photo by Meghan Cronin.

Stage Troupe was not kidding when they warned us that their show was going to be “crazy” and would involve a “fish costume.” The actors took the audience back to a simpler time when no one knew what a fidget spinner was, the 80’s. Their act was filled with slapstick fish puns and 80’s references such as Mr. Miyagi jokes, and advice from the legendary Steven King.

Filled with laughter and creativity, COMBAT was a one of a kind experience, and we can’t wait to see what every team comes up with next year.