One acts: A night of collaborations

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Students perform four short plays for a night of “One Acts.” Photo Courtesy: A. O’Brien Photography

This past weekend, theater students and professionals showcased their collaborative efforts in the form of “The Night of One Acts” from March 20 to 22. According to the “One Acts” program, the event was constructed to the finishing product over the course of six weeks.

Each of the four short plays brought an issue into discussion different from the others. In professional artistic director Andi Chapman’s written “From the Directors” statement, there is a story of freedom (“Poof”), one of redemption (“Birdcage in Brooklyn”), one about life’s choices (“They Know Something We Don’t”), and also of forgiveness (“Celibacy in the Suburbs”).

According to Davis, “The whole point of ‘One Acts’ is to showcase student work, student talent, and what we have learned over the course of four years and start practicing what we’re going to be doing in the real world.”

The opening short play is professional playwright Lynn Nottage’s “Poof,” directed by senior theater arts/screenwriting major, Hannah Bushyeager, whose written work, “A Birdcage in Brooklyn” was also showcased at the event.

Bushyeager says in her written statement that the story is about the situations that women trap themselves in because of society’s engendered predispositions. It features the lead, Loureen, played by senior BFA acting major Zenna Hodge, whose character is faced with the consequences of speaking one’s mind in a comedic display.

Bushyeager’s written work was the next in line to be performed. “Birdcage in Brooklyn” is set in a prison where a naive woman working on her master’s thesis adventures to discover the healing magic of story. According to Bushyeager, the piece is about redemption and the freedom one can have from confinement.

“It was interesting to be the first person to bring the work to life and not having anyone preceding you,” junior BFA acting major Calli McLellan, who played the lead role in “Birdcage in Brooklyn” as Corina, said. “It’s been a lot of fun and really difficult because you have nothing to really base it off of, you’re the sole creator.”

McLellan said the role was something that was closer to her heart because of the ministry she has done in prisons.

The following play was Chris Cragin Day’s “They Know Something We Don’t,” directed by senior psychology and theater major, Lydia Soto. In Soto’s written “From the Director” statement, “‘They Know Something We Don’t’ demonstrates how a tragic event and a complete stranger can change your perspective of who you are and what you are at a particular point in life.”

The closing one-act play was also an original work written by Davis called, “Celibacy in the Suburbs,” which explores sex, lies, and gossip in the form of an over-the-top comedy.

Junior BFA acting major, Claire Schuttler said, “We were all those ‘high schoolers’ once trying to find themselves and trying to stand up for themselves in different ways and sometimes we do it wrong. Ultimately, being able to forgive others for what others have done to us and being able to forgive is a powerful message.”

The theater department will close the year off with performances of “Faustus: A New Adaptation,” starting April 3, and ending with their final performance on April 13.

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