Do you have the attention span of a squirrel? Do you often find yourself losing interest in plays only minutes in? Players’ Theatre Group (PTG) provided a solution to both problems through their hour and thirty minute long One-Act Festival, held in the Eldred Black Box Theater on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
The compilation of five plays, “Mary Just Broke Up With This Guy,” “Black Eye,” “This Property is Condemned,” “Words, Words, Words” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” (as adapted by second-year Monica Hammil) captivated the audience.
In “Mary Just Broke Up With This Guy”, Mary (second-year student Emma Risley) goes on more than a dozen dates after her and her ex-boyfriend, Tony, broke up “last Tuesday” after six years of dating. The play perfectly captured the frustration of meeting people with misleading online profiles and the discomfort of dating.
“Black Eye” begins with Miss Marshall (third-year student Nicole Coury) leading Amanda (fourth-year student Quinn Hom) to the principal’s office after she found herself in an altercation with three boys on school grounds. Amanda proudly shows Miss Marshall how she fought the boys, before being interrupted by Mr. Kent (third-year student Adam Steel). Mr. Kent and Miss Marshall explore the idea of expelling Amanda, but Miss Marshall blackmails Mr. Kent into letting her stay in school.
In “This Property is Condemned”, Tom (first-year student Ethan Kinstler) meets Willie (third-year student Sarah Parr, the Observer’s director of business operations) as she balances herself on the railroad tracks, while he tries to fly his red kite in the windless sky. She reveals that her family has left her alone in the big yellow house they shared, and she has “inherited” her sister’s lover after her death. Willie’s naivete and precarious situation is thought-provoking and poignant.
“Words, Words, Words” follows three chimpanzees, Swift (first-year student Savannah Walters), Kafka (fourth-year student Michelle Berg) and Milton (Coury) who are part of an experiment to prove that chimpanzees forced to type perpetually will eventually write “Hamlet.” As they ponder their demeaning plight in captivity, Milton plots revenge on Dr. Rosenbaum, the researcher in charge of the experiment.
“The Tell-Tale Heart,” as adapted by Hammil, is a conversation between the madman who murders the old man in Edgar Allan Poe’s version (first-year student Joseph Flynn), and Death (first-year student Sabrina Costales). Hammil, who was the Assistant Production Manager for the festival, said “The Tell-Tale Heart” came about because the director, second-year student Paul Jensen, wanted to direct a play adaptation of the short story. Since Hammil has a playwriting concentration, she offered to write it for him.
The long process of adapting the short story started in October, when she created an outline of the essential events in Poe’s version, determined what she wanted to do and worked extensively with Jensen to edit the script.
“I wrote a thirteen page version first, which got cut to five, expanded to 10 and was eventually completed up at 15,” said Hammil.
That dedication extended to the rest of the cast, whose rehearsals started on Nov. 9.
“I think it was really cool how the actors were unfazed, despite being literal inches from the audience,” second-year student Yugan Sakthi said. “It really shows how much effort they’ve put into this show.”
The dedication from the cast and production staff of One-Act Festival created a wonderful show that was both thought-provoking and entertaining.