By Kelly Vena
While most of the student body was catching up on homework on Saturday, Nov. 7, and Sunday, Nov. 8, a small group of dedicated thespians put on three shows in the Kendall Hall Black Box Theatre for this semester’s An Evening of Shorts. The Evening of Shorts is an All College Theatre event which consisted of four one-act plays performed consecutively over the course of two hours.
The first play performed, “Brontosaurus,” written by famed playwright Lanford Wilson and directed by senior English and secondary education major Steven Munoz, tells the story of an antique dealer’s desperate attempt to connect with her teenage nephew.
The dealer, played by freshman women’s and gender studies major Molly Knapp, is an extremely knowledgeable, yet lonely woman.
“I play those kinds of roles a lot,” Knapp said. “They’re fabulous, and easy for me to get into.”
The nephew, played by freshman English major Julien Blanchard, is living with his aunt in a lavish Manhattan home while he studies theology. While his aunt is talkative, Blanchard plays the nephew as blunt, offering only short, vague answers to the dealer’s long-winded questions.
When the nephew eventually opens up to his aunt that he decided to be a minister at 12 after receiving a divine revelation, the dealer listens intently to his description of the phenomenal sights and feelings he experienced.
Because “Brontosaurus” was the only play not written by a student playwright, the cast “got an interesting perspective” about how to stage the play, according to Knapp.
“Basically, we got to do whatever we wanted with it,” she said.
The next play, “Drowning,” written and directed by junior journalism major Jonathan Edmondson, tells the story of a group of friends coping with the sudden loss of a family member.
“I actually began writing ‘Drowning’ in May of 2014 and then I put it away for awhile,” Edmondson said of his moving, relatable work. “After I lost my grandparents this summer, I revisited the piece and from then on the words really flowed.”
“Drowning” takes place in the apartment of two friends, Lucas and Tyler, who are hosting their friends for dinner. Although a tragic death of someone close to them is alluded to throughout the play, the full story does not come out until the very end.
“It was difficult at times. I didn’t want to be cliché or over the top,” Edmondson said of his careful selection of words.
After loud screaming matches and even a physical altercation, it is revealed that Lucas was babysitting three-year-old Carter when a series of unfortunate events take place.
After the tragedy is revealed, the group of friends gather for a big hug, while Lucas and Tyler admit that they both miss Carter, a sign that they are beginning to healthily grieve their loss.
“My cast was incredible,” Edmondson said. “They brought the characters to life in such a beautiful way. They were focused and grounded and willing to take risks. A director couldn’t ask for anything better.”
After a short intermission, the cast of the third play, “<Project Revive>,” took the stage. This play, written and directed by junior interactive multimedia major Kathleen Fox, centers around three teenage delinquents and the opportunity of a lifetime — being able to forget traumatic events of their past in order to better their present situation.
The three teens, Hayden, Elliot and Fallon, were caught by police as they tried to rob a convenience store. They are kidnapped by Memory Inc., a company famous for their serum that allows people to forget small events that can sour a day, and brought into a room to decide whether they would like to go through with the procedure to turn their lives around.
Fallon and Hayden decide to follow through with the procedure, while Elliot is taken to jail when he does not want to undergo treatment.
A year later, the trio are reunited, and the play ends with a trembling Elliot debating on whether or not he should go through with it afterall.
“Steve, Kathleen, Sam (the other directors) and I had a blast watching the shows,” Edmondson said.
The fourth and final play, “Thrice Upon a Time,” was written and directed by junior English and secondary education major Sam Miller. This play focuses on characters Emerald, Avery and an evil queen, named Lyla. Emerald, played by freshman Rebecca Conn, is the rightful queen of the kingdom, but her former maid, Lyla, tricks her into switching places. Avery, a witch played by freshman Gigi Garrity, helps Emerald go back in time to the same summer on three separate occasions in order to try and convince the king to spare her life because the queen wants her executed.
The end of the evening was met with roaring applause from the audience, which was no surprise to the directors.
“I’m really proud of everyone who worked on all the shows,” Edmondson said. “The audience really enjoyed their experience. Based on the laughter and the tears, I am extremely happy with how it all turned out.”