Students direct the stage for one acts festivals


Tyler KorponaiOnline Editor

From the struggle of survival under Nazi rule to time traveling family therapy, the Theatre
Department and the Crescent Players presented Societatem Malorum, a student directed one acts
festival throughout the week.

The festival was comprised of four different productions including, “Time to Change,” “The
Lottery,” “The Flyer,” and “I Never Saw Another Butterfly.” Moreover, two of the plays, “Time to
Change” and “The Flyer,” are original plays written by students.

 

Maeve Cunningham, who is a Theatre major that directed “The Lottery,” which is a play about a
community’s dark tradition, highlighted some of the unique challenges of preparing for the
festival. According to Cunningham, all the directors had to work around each other and with the
same pool of talent.

“I had 11 actors in my cast and everyone was sharing all those same actors,” Cunningham said.
According to Cunningham, “staying in constant communication to make sure we were all getting
what we needed from each other, and what we needed from our actors,” was essential to making
the festival happen.

Brenna Ross, a Theatre major who directed “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” a play about the
hardships of a Jewish women from Prague living under the Nazi regime, likewise noted the
adversities of bringing her production and the festival to life.

“A lot of days,” said Ross, “we would make our schedules and send them out and we had
scheduled the same room, with the same people, on the same night. So that was hard to work
out.”

Though, the challenge helps students participate in numerous roles both on stage and off
according to Kevin Redline, who is an Interdisciplinary Studies major wrote and directed “Time
to Change” for his Honors Thesis.

“Each show had a different set and designer,” said Redline. “Everything was student designed. So
a couple people double dipped. Some people were lighting designers for one show and then
sound designers for the other. We had four different production teams for four different show, all
going on at the same time. That’s what makes the festival a good thing.”

However, for Redline, everything including the play itself was a collaborative effort.
“It’s actually a crowd sourced play,” explained Redline. “So I gathered information from people
though a survey and then used about 16 different concepts. I chose what was going to be
included in the play, and I tried to put in much in it as I could.”

Including in the director’s notes of the playbill, these concepts were drawn from categories of
improvisational theater ranging from “a bartender who is sad”, as opposed to the sad customer
trope, to one character being the other’s time traveling relative.

Molly Flanagan, an Interdisciplinary Studies major who wrote and directed “The Flyer,” was
happy to see the performance play out before a crowd and evolve over the week.

“It’s rewarding to see how the actors respond to the audience” said Flanagan, “and how the
audience responded to the actors every night.”

And this is what Flanagan’s play is about: response.

According to her director’s notes, “The characters in this diner try to avoid their problem. They
turn off the TV. As I have done so many times. The real world can’t exist if you can’t ear it. But it
does exist. Listen to those around you.”

Photo Credit: Isabel Chenoweth

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