Two years of preparation will be crammed into 24 hours starting at 5 p.m. tonight. “One Day Runway,” the brainchild of director and Art & Design senior Amy Plouff, will bring together two of her favorite things: Basement Arts’s 24 Hour Theatre, an annual challenge to create four original short plays in one day’s time, and Lifetime’s fashion competition “Project Runway.”

“One Day Runway”

Saturday at 11 p.m.
Walgreen Drama Center

Plouff’s initially far-fetched idea to bring together seven Art & Design students for a faux reality TV show wasn’t fully realized until a $400 grant from Arts at Michigan provided some much-needed financial backing. Once the money issue was solved, finding enthusiastic participants including film, design and acting majors was no problem at all.

The action will begin when the seven designers are given $50 and an undisclosed challenge to fulfill as the sun goes down tonight.

The concept may be similar to “Project Runway,” but according to Plouff it does have its differences.

“Instead of going downtown in New York to buy fabric, we’re going to JoAnn’s,” she said.

Contestants will bring their purchased materials back to the Walgreen Drama Center where they will be supplied with sewing machines and cutting desks in the “Costume Lab.” The room will not only contain frantic designers, but also their previously selected models, already measured and set for fitting.

Meanwhile, cameras will be rolling to capture the insanity and insomnia.

Participant and Art & Design junior Yonit Olshan said that during this time, she will be forced to think “about things like zippers or hems or how my model will get in and out of my garment easily — things I’m not used to thinking about.

“Even just staying on target all along with my friends around and a camera crew — things might just get crazy,” she added.

When the clock strikes 5 p.m. tomorrow night, the contestants will have to drop what they’re doing and let their stress subside until 11 p.m. During this time the film will be edited and then projected as the first component of the show, with the intention of presenting the “episode” before the live event.

Other components will include a judging by costume design and directing professors, as well as the choosing of an “audience favorite,” decided by votes cast during intermission.

Last but not least, the obligatory “confessional” segment will take place live on the set.

Plouff, for one, is looking forward to the “shit-talking behind the confessionals.”

“I’ve always wanted to be that producer that probes them (and says), ‘Oh yeah, what do you think about that outfit,’ ” she said, admitting that she’s a sucker for the “drama” of reality TV.

The restrictions posed by the clock and purse strings will certainly provide an intriguing challenge, no matter how experienced contestants are.

“I have made a wide variety of costumes and different garments throughout my life, but I’m not sure how I will react to designing and constructing under such time and budget constraints,” Olshan said.

Another contestant, Art & Design junior Corey Davis, agreed with this sentiment, and plans to prepare accordingly.

“I’m pretty sure I’ll be sleeping all of Thursday and Friday so I don’t pass out in the middle of the challenge,” he said.

For Plouff, this limited time span is sure to test her stamina and will certainly spark some memorable moments.

“I don’t think I’ve experienced the most enjoyable part,” she said of her approximately 730-day journey. “I think that’s going to be probably like the eighteenth hour of being on energy drinks and really excited and watching the drama unfold.”

Art & Design senior and participant June Saito isn’t too phased by the concept, saying that some days feel very similar to “One Day Runway.”

“Honestly, this is normal for us,” she explained. “Twenty-four hours in the costume lab is like a normal night. We’re always in there working on projects, though typically a full camera crew isn’t present.”

Regardless, Saito plans on brushing up on some technical aspects as well as creating a new iPod playlist.

“I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the chaos, so I think I might review some sewing skills before Friday just to be prepared,” she said. “I also think (the designers) are preparing to amp things up a little for the camera so it’s not just another normal night singing along to Disney soundtracks and Broadway musicals.”

And rightfully so. Although the contest is friendly in nature, there are prizes at stake. Win or lose, the ultimate goal for Plouff and the contestants is to put on an entertaining and spontaneous live show that is sure to contain some of Basement Arts’s well-known improvisation and present a remarkably unique concept.

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