Even though it may not feel like winter, this weekend is the debut of the Winter One Acts. The One Acts start at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17 and Saturday, Feb. 18 in the Umble Center. On Sunday, the performance is an early afternoon show starting at 3 p.m., with additional ASL interpreting.The shorter plays allow a mixture of students from diverse disciplines to have experience performing on stage, doing technical work and directing.
“It’s a great opportunity for people who want to do theater but who don’t want to commit to a semester-long project,” said Doug Liechty Caskey, producer and professor of theater. “People don’t have to be all or nothing to be involved in the process; acting or being on crew in a one act is a good way to get involved.”
However, that doesn’t mean that the one acts are less important than the mainstage productions.
“Because the one acts aren’t the mainstage production, some students feel that the one acts are not a big deal,” said Caskey. “But we shouldn’t treat it as a second-tier thing since not only are they getting real-life performance experience, but they are also performing in front of a paying audience.”
Each semester, the one acts are different, whether they are Peace Plays, comedies or other genres, allowing for continuous creativity and a wide range of material to experiment with. This year, the two one acts fall under the modern realism genre, most prominent during the 1880s-1940s era.
The two plays to be performed, “Something Unspoken” by Tennessee Williams and “A Marriage Proposal” by Anton Chekhov, both are different in many respects—American versus Russian, comedic versus dramatic—but embrace the Valentine’s Day vibes by focusing on relationships and love.
“Something Unspoken”, directed by 2016 GC graduate Martin Flowers, follows the suppressed romantic relationship between two women in the 1950s American South. Courtney Crapser, a sophomore English major, and Olivia Smucker, a first-year psychology major, are featured as the two main characters, Grace and Cornelia, respectively.
“Realism is finding the truth in the situation and keeping the entire experience grounded by focusing on the very real, very raw relationships,” says Flowers. “At first, the relationship between the two characters seems surface level, but it is far more complex. We have collaborated and focused on finding the many layers of tension and subtle dynamics between them.”
“A Marriage Proposal”, directed by Tabitha Immanuel, a junior film production and theater major, is a Russian comedic play about a catawampus proposal, involving a man, a woman and her father.
Claude Lilford, a first-year film production and writing major, Carter McKay-Epp, a sophomore computer science major, and Olivia Smucker are featured in the play.
“As a first-time director, directing the one acts was an interesting experience,” said Immanuel. “I was very hesitant at first, but it all came together well, and I know it’s only because everyone worked really hard and gave it their best. I’m looking forward to see what the audience thinks.”
No theater production would ever be able to get off the ground without a trustworthy group of people behind the scenes.
The production team consists of Andrew Moeggenborg, technical director and set designer, Melanie Hertzler, production stage manager, Riley Woods, light designer and master electrician, Ben Reimer, assistant technical director, Brandy Lowe, props manager, Annie Steiner, hair and makeup designer, and Nick Peebles, master carpenter.
“I definitely learned the importance of theater being a team effort this time more so than ever before,” said Immanuel. “I was completely dependent on my actors, stage manager and designers to make the play look like the way I envisioned it.”
This year is also the last time that the one acts and the opera scenes (to be performed on Mar. 17) will be separate. In future years, the music and theater departments will team up and combine them.
Tickets are $5. If you are looking for a free ticket, contact Andrew Moeggenborg at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if there is a need for ushers.