Catawba College's Theatre Arts Department continues a tradition that's more than 30 years old when it presents the annual One Act Festival at 6 p.m. April 19-21 in the Florence Busby Corriher Theatre on campus. The Blue Masque's One Act Festival is an annual departmental tradition, featuring short plays written by well-known classic and unknown contemporary playwrights and performed by students. Directors for all productions are also students enrolled in a Directing II Class at the College.
This year's selections bring a variety of material to the stage, from the serious to the lighthearted, from the traditional to the abstract. The Bear, Paradise, and Old Saybrook will be performed beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, while The Adventure of Neato-Man and Quartet will be performed beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 20. All five one-act plays will be performed in a theatre marathon beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, April 21. Admission each evening is free. For more information, call the Catawba College Box Office at (704) 637-4481. Audience members should be aware that sexual situations inherent in some of the one act plays make them inappropriate for children.
Following are brief synopses of the productions to be performed during the Festival and a listing of the cast members appearing in each:
by Anton Chekhov
One of Anton Chekhov's earliest works, The Bear tells the story of Popova, a widowed landowner who is deep in mourning for her lost husband. Despite the insistence of her manservant, Looka, Popova will not go outside, visit her friends, or even allow anyone to visit her. All that changes when Smirnov, a landowner and creditor of Popova's late husband, arrives to collect money owed to him. Smirnov will not allow himself to be put off by Popova's mourning and demands that she pay in order to prevent him from going bankrupt the very next day.
Chekhov's classic "jest in one act" explores gender and societal issues that still plague us today. How is a woman or a man expected to act? How are they expected not to act? Chekhov has blown those expectations out of the water with this unique take on turn-of-the-century duty and obligation.
Performances of The Bear are scheduled at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 19 and Friday, April 21.
Directed by senior Brian Romans of Baltimore, Md., and stage managed by junior Lauren Connelly of Moon Township, Pa., the cast includes junior Caitlin Heinen of Wauwatosa, Wis., as Popova; junior Catori Swann of Hickory as Smirnov; and freshman Jordan Hunt of Hartford, Wis., as Looka.
by Romulus Linney
Paradise is the story of a young man named Dudley who is searching to find that one place in the world that will make him happy. He lives with his father, Paul, in North Carolina and is invited to go visit his Aunt Jean in Miami. His father doesn't think it is a very good idea for him to go but Dudley goes anyway, ignoring his father's wishes.
In Miami, Dudley finds his alcoholic Aunt Jean, still trying to cope with the death of her son many years before. While there in a bar, he also meets Angelina, a woman who seeks solace from her pain in casual sex. And Dudley reconnects with his cousin, Linda, Jean's daughter, who is also seeking solace from a pain of her own.
The audience witnesses each of the four characters as they search for a paradise apart from their personal pains. This production will be performed at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19 and Friday, April 21.
Directed by sophomore Jordan Danz of Mequon, Wis., cast members include junior Justin Dionne of Salisbury as Dudley; sophomore Rebekah Sweet of Lexington, S.C., as Jean; junior Lisa Ponce of Tolland, Conn., as Angelina; freshman Devon Currie of Jamestown as Linda; and freshman Justin Lewis of Knoxville, Tenn., as Paul.
by Woody Allen
Old Saybrook explores the relationships between several married couples and a playwright with writer's block. The characters wrestle with the difficulty of marriage and use love affairs as a means of escape. Audience members can reflect on their own marital difficulties and resolutions as the cast members each try to answer one question: Is forgiveness a commercial idea only found in fiction, or is forgiveness a quality embodied by humans? Performances of Old Saybrook are slated at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 19 and Friday, April 21.
Directed by junior Tiffany Hogan of High Point, cast members include junior Sarah Koerner of Rocky Mount as Sheila; junior Nick Luisi of Pitsgrove, N.J., as Norman; freshman Jennifer Short of Jersey City, N.J., as Jenny; sophomore Jeremy Kinser of Matthews as David; sophomore Guerin Piercy of Asheville as Sandy; sophomore Justin Johnson of Fuquay-Varina as Hal; and freshman Jesse Hunter of Bridgewater, Va., as Max.
The Adventures of Captain Neato-Man
by Timothy Scott Harris
The play takes the audience through one day in the adventurous life of a self-made, or rather self-proclaimed superhero. The story begins with Larry, an ordinary guy who answers a newspaper ad for a typist. Or so he thinks.
Larry soon learns that the ad was placed by Captain Neato-Man and his mother, in their search for the perfect super sidekick. During the course of this hilarious one-act, the pair of them tries their hardest to convince Larry to follow his heart, and answer his true calling as Horatio, Defender of Justice. Larry resists, but the situation becomes more complicated when Neato-Man and Mother introduce him to Trixy, a reformed prostitute and Horatio's long lost love.
Will our hero prevail? Will Larry give in to his deepest desires? Will the power of imagination win the day? Find out in The Adventures of Captain Neato-Man, to be performed at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 20, and at 8:00 p.m. Friday, April 21.
Directed by junior Michael Strickland of Round Rock, Texas, cast members include freshman Mike Matthias of Georgetown, Del., as Captain Neato-Man; freshman Gracie Greenbaum of Tolland, Conn., as Mother; junior Joe Castillo of London, England, as Larry/Horatio; and freshman Nicole Durant of Asheville as Trixy.
by Heiner Muller
Two of literature's most narcissistic characters, Valmont and Merteuil from Pierre Choderlos de Laclos' 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses,' have endured for centuries by seducing others. Now, trapped alone in a world that has left them behind, can the two of them survive by seducing one another?
Performances of Quartet are scheduled at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 20 and at 8 p.m. Friday, April 21. Directed by junior Joey Yow of High Point, cast members include sophomore Andy Maccain of Mequon, Wis., as Valmont and freshman Emilie Kuhar of Montgomery County, Md. as Merteuil.