By Innes Herdan, Secretary
The University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) Directing Two class, taught by Peter Simmel, is hosting the 2014 Spring One Act Plays. With each of the six students choosing and directing their own plays, there is a diverse collection to be seen.
A great deal of the students’ plays feature a comedic component, such as seen in Cassidy Small’s play, “Arlecchino’s Surprise,” which is a Commedia dell’arte script, a style of theatre Small is particularly fond of. The plot features the character of Pantalone, who “ tries to marry off his daughter Isabella to Il Capitano, a man very full of himself. A plan is devised by her servant and the local neighborhood prostitute to help her marry her boyfriend Leandro instead,” said Small.
Likewise, Christina Hallowell, Jagger Trouant, and John Levenseller chose to entertain their audiences with a form of comedy. Hallowell’s play, “Write Me A Love Scene,” was chosen because “It’s quirky and I like how it portrays love in a light and fun way,” said Hallowell. “ It’s about a playwright Gabriel and his wife, Helena who get themselves mixed up in a crazy love triangle. Its full of little plot twists and the character’s relationships to each other are really interesting.”
Similar to Hallowell’s choice of a comedic show, intertwined with drama, Trouant chose a play that also features both of those components. Trouant’s One Act show, “The Author’s Voice,” was chosen by him “because it was a nice comedy, drama mix and had some really powerful characters that I thought would make a nice directing challenge and also would give the actors something to challenge themselves,” said Trouant. “The plot is such that a con author is trying to take credit for another person’s work in order to give his life some meaning and purpose.”
Amanda Estes’ and Amy Mahar’s plays feature a contrast to the more light hearted shows. Mahar’s show, “Death of a Hired Man,” dares to challenge the topics of death and family. While Estes’ show, “Coffee with God,” was chosen “because it was funny but at the same time sad. I wanted to be able to portray that if people really could talk to God it wouldn’t all be a joke,” said Estes, “The playwright, I believe, wanted to show that too. I really just liked the play itself and the story behind it.”
With limited directing experience, these students have faced challenges as well as found joys through this form of art. “I did not know anybody in the cast very well before auditions. I was meeting most of them for the first time, said Mahar, “It was a risk to cast people I did not know because I did not know their work ethics, but I have been lucky. They are great.”
Trouant is also on the same page with Mahar in term of his relationship with his cast. “It really feels like a team where we have the same goal of putting this play together and bringing it to life and that can be very rewarding,” said Trouant.
Hallowell has found that small challenges have occurred throughout the directing process. “From helping the actors learn their lines, to gathering props and set pieces, to working with Stan Spilecki (tech director) to get our lights and sound cues working perfectly,” said Hallowell, “ I wouldn’t say there’s one specific thing that’s really challenging, it’s just trying to get all the pieces together and that ends up being a lot of work.”
The doors will open a half hour before every show at the Alumni Theater. Trouant, Levenseller, and Small’s plays will be on April 24th and 26th at 7:30 PM both nights. Hallowell, Mahar, and Estes’ plays will be on April 25th at 7:30 PM and April 27th at 2:00 PM.
For specific details about the show, check out http://umfoneacts2014.tumblr.com/.