Five separate flats stand isolated on the stage, one with a bright red door in it. The back scrim is exposed, and the floor is uncharacteristically solid black. For anyone who has attended the Union Players shows, this minimalist set may be surprising this year. From a well-to-do island house to a vaguely Russian village to a run-down town hall in the middle of a revolting country, the stage has been home to some very specific settings. But this set can’t be so detailed and specific, because it must provide a world for six different plays on four different days.
The time has come for Union University’s student-directed One Acts. A long-standing tradition in the theater department, the festival serves as a final grade for the students in Professor of Theater David Burke’s directing class. But more than that, it is a great opportunity for students across campus, who may not have the time to devote to main stage plays, to get involved in the theater department.
This year, the seven students in the directing class have chosen seven unique and entertaining plays, and they have put together some brilliant casts. While some of the students have been involved with the theater in the past, many are appearing for the first time on the Union stage.
Freshman French major, Jon Hall, is one of those students.
“I did a little theater in high school, so in some ways this feels a little like de ja vu,” Hall said. “Everyone’s been really fun to work with…it’s been pretty light-hearted.”
The plays will be May 12-15. Because there are so many, there will be three each night, and each play will be performed on alternating nights. One of the One Acts, Darkest Night, directed by Eric Wegner, has already completed its run at theCo. Thursday through Saturday, the first play will begin at 7:30 p.m., and the other plays will follow immediately one after the other. Sunday will follow the same pattern, but the shows will begin at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets are $3 for one ticket or $4 for two nights. Tickets are sold outside the Brewer Dining Hall every weekday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., but as always, they will also be sold at the door.
Opening the Thursday and Saturday performances will be Le medecin volant, directed by junior French major, Garyn McIntyre. This French comedy will be performed entirely in French, will have subscripts in the silent film style and is sure to be entertaining to all, despite the language barrier.
Following that will be Memory Garden, directed by senior broadcasting major, Anna-Alicia Sails. This more serious play is about a mother of two who is struggling with the loss of her husband. It will explore how people cope with anger and confusion at the loss of a loved one, while also exploring the strength that comes from the determination to keep on living.
The Dumb Waiter, directed by senior philosophy and theater double major, Laura Reiswig, will close out the evening. This absurdist comedy explores the relationship of two individuals as they work together, how they each question (or don’t question) the morality of their work and how their lives fit into the larger scheme of humanity. Viewers will see contrasting world views interact with each other: their work, their hobbies and a being more powerful than them.
The Friday and Saturday performances will begin with Trifles, directed by junior theater major Priscilla Porter. It’s a suspense thriller surrounding the apparent suicide of an abusive husband. When his wife is accused of his murder, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale must decide whether to share the case’s evidence with the policemen, who also happen to be their husbands. This thriller is sure to keep the audience on the edge of their seats.
Following that will be Light Through the Lens, a play both written and directed by senior psychology and theater double major, Bryanna England. It’s an inspirational drama based on the true story of Rick Guidotti, an extremely successful fashion photographer who left the industry to travel the world to take pictures of individuals who are beautiful in the most unique ways. This beautiful story reveals the purpose of individuals and how one person can truly change the world.
And finally, Twitch, directed by senior theater major, Melissa Locke, will close out the show.
“This quick and near farcical comedy unexpectedly creeps into your heart,” Locke said. “Twitch has a wonderful message of kindness for all ages and planets.”
It’s a story about a newly married couple in which the wife is paranoid that they’re being watched by the new neighbors, but neither of them could ever have expected what is in store for them all.