Friday night -- about 20 people gather in the Bemidji State University theater. It's been used for storage since the acting program was gutted six years ago for budget reasons.
Now the local creatives have found their way back in for the school's first 24-hour Play Festival.
Playwrights begin by picking two props. They then write through the night crafting short plays around them. Everyone else gets to go home and sleep, and produce the script in the morning.
"I went with the Packers jersey and the gas mask," said John Heller. "I'm thinking end of the world scenario."
Heller is a local gas station attendant and amateur film director. He's got a shoestring film noir in post-production right now, but says the 24 hour play is harder than he thought.
Then there's local playwright Roy C. Booth. Both he and Wikipedia say he's published 57 plays. With any luck at all, this is 58.
His prop is a plush squid toy. Naturally he's writing about Cthulhu, the tentacle faced word-ender created by sci-fi novelist H.P. Lovecraft
"Cthulhu has been accidentally summoned at a science-fiction convention," Booth said. "He is woefully out of place."
Season Ellison is running this community project. She's BSU's lone theater Ph.D., and attempting to breathe new life into the local theater scene.
The writers finish their scripts by early Saturday morning. Ellison waits around for the actors and directors to show up. She hasn't slept, but she's come to a startling conclusion. These plays are actually pretty good.
John Heller uses the gas mask to write about an evil genius bent on starting the apocalypse.
Roy C. Booth uses Cthulhu to make some light political commentary.
Actors and directors will produce the plays through Saturday afternoon. The show is at 8 p.m.