Actors persevere through the heat in the Drama Lab during the Playwright’s Festival

A heat wave plagued the Drama Lab venue last weekend while nine plays and the Scene Monkeys’ improvisation acts were performed a total of five times in the annual Playwright’s Festival.

Temperatures outside that actress Brittany Gill ’09 felt “were definitely above 100 degrees” lasting from Thursday through Sunday were intensified by the lack of air conditioning in the Drama Lab.

Festival Director and Performing Arts Teacher Christopher Moore said that on Wednesday at about 10:30 a.m. the compressor of the air conditioning broke in the Drama Lab. By 12:30 p.m., maintenance workers had assessed the damage and concluded that the problem could not be fixed in time for the Festival, however, they quickly brought two portable air conditioners to use in the interim.

“The maintenance staff really responded quickly,” Moore said.

The portable replacements were not as effective as the normal air conditioning, actor Harry Botwick ’09 said, and were fairly noisy.

Additionally, the play “Funeral” by Serena Berman, was set at a funeral in the 1950s, meaning all the characters wore heavy black dresses or suits.

“The heat was unbearable, especially with all our heavy costumes,” Gill said. “Evan Rappell ’09 had to wear a fake beard and cape, too, in his play, which must have been even worse.”

The main problem, most of the actors felt, was keeping up their energy and the energy of the audience in the draining heat.

“The heat definitely made the actors tired, which made the audience’s energy low,” Botwick said.

Moore was concerned with another glitch.

“I feel terrible,” he said. “The program listed Natalie Karl as the Assistant Director of [one act play] “The Stationmaster,” but it was Natalie Karic, and she did a fantastic job. Because it was only a two-letter difference, no one pointed it out.”

Gill saw a bright side to the excessively sunny situation, especially in the hottest shows on Saturday and Sunday.

“We were so nervous about not having enough energy, because our whole play is about pacing, so we were over prepared,” she said. “I think the heat just made us go for it even more, so it actually helped us.”

As they say, the show must go on.