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Fusion Fest IV to hit the downtown stage Sept. 9

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – It’s early in the semester at Monmouth College, but five students and one professor will already need to pull an all-nighter Sept. 8 for an important writing assignment.

The group, which includes Assistant Professor of English David Wright, will author plays for the College’s Fusion Fest IV, coordinated this year by theatre faculty Vanessa Campagna and Ron Zank.

Although they know the assignment is coming, Wright and the students can’t start writing until Sept. 8, when Fusion Fest kicks off with blind drawings for the directors and actors at 7:30 p.m. The six playwrights have until 7:30 a.m. Sept. 9 to write their plays. The plays will then be handed to directors and actors, who have until 7 p.m. to rehearse, memorize and stage them.

The public performance will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 9 at the Fusion Theatre, 230 S. Main St., the College’s downtown theatre.

“As always, the Department of Theatre is committed to the artistic development of our students,” said Campagna. “While they have opportunities to assume major production positions, such as directing and designing, in all of our mainstage productions, Fusion Fest provides the unique opportunity of providing young artists the chance to explore and hone the craft of playwriting.”

The rehearsals – which begin at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 9 – are free and open to the public. The theatre will be cleared by the evening and will re-open at 7 p.m. A half-hour later, the audience will be able to watch the controlled chaos come alive on the stage.

“Fusion Fest is only a 24-hour commitment,” said Campagna. “This makes it an excellent opportunity for reaching out to and integrating students from across the disciplines who might not otherwise be able to participate, since our large-scale productions can rehearse anywhere from five to seven weeks.”

Tickets, which are $3, are not part of the season-ticket package to College productions, which is now available at