It’s hard to find talent these days, and apparently Portland State has a stash of it in Lincoln Hall. Among things not to miss in this busy last week of classes is the theater department’s festival of one-act plays. The pieces were all hand selected and directed by students in the directing II class as part of PSU’s annual one-act play festival.
The amazing one-act
It’s hard to find talent these days, and apparently Portland State has a stash of it in Lincoln Hall. Among things not to miss in this busy last week of classes is the theater department’s festival of one-act plays.
The pieces were all hand selected and directed by students in the directing II class as part of
PSU’s annual one-act play festival. Ten acts will be featured in the festival by 10 different student directors. Each performance is around 15 minutes long and have run, or will run, this week and next during either the noon hour or in the evening. Most acts have run once, but will be performed again next week. And admission is the wonderful price of free.
Sets range from fully furnished bedrooms to performance done solely around a bench. Georgette Dashiell, graduate student and director of Antigone’s Red, said set designs were left to the discretion of the directors. For the set of her piece, Dashiell went with simplicity to compliment some very emotionally charged performances. A bench served as the only set piece, costumes were conservative and props minimal.
“I chose to let the words and acting stand out,” Dashiell said.
Antigone’s Red takes place during World War II-era America in a detainment camp for Japanese and Japanese-American citizens. Dashiell said she selected the act based on subject matter and the interesting mix of Japanese theatrical elements and the Greek story of Antigone.
“It’s extremely beautifully written and talks about part of our history that we don’t like to talk about,” Dashiell said.
Another unique aspect of Dashiell’s set is the incorporation of photography. The first minute of the performance is a slide show of war-era photographs taken by Ansel Adams, the only photographer allowed to make his way into the actual camps. The costumes, Dashiell said, which are virtually colorless, where chosen to reflect the black and white stills.
The combination of emotion in the pictures and in the performance by Jennifer Lin, who plays the innocently condemned Antigone, is extremely powerful. Bring tissues if you’re a sensitive crier.
While Antigone is not the only war-related or political piece of the bunch, they won’t all leave you weepy or pondering the meaning of life. The 10 acts run the gauntlet of emotion from serious to sweet to sarcastic.
“All the pieces are really different from each other,” said Shae Uisna, graduate student and director of Goblin Market.
The Red Coat, directed by Rebekkah Rasmussen, features the painfully sweet, if not adorably awkward, scenario of a teenager’s first confession of love. Another act that will leave you a little fuzzier on the inside, but not too fuzzy, is Rosie in the Shadow of the Melrose, directed by graduate student A.R. Jackson. It depicts the quirky and honest interaction between two strangers–a pair of misfits–that are waiting for their trains to arrive.
“I like the fact that it ended on a happy note,” Jackson said.
An anticipated standout performance in the style department is Goblin Market, which will run for the first time tonight. According to Uisna, it will be done using heavy elements of shadow, puppetry and masks. The play is based on a 19th-century poem by the same name about two sisters living in a small community, surrounded by wilderness at a time when literary forests strongly represented danger.
“To me, it’s about the pull–the lure–between town and forest, and between what you’re suppose to do and what you want to do,” Usina said.
The casting process began at the start of winter term when open auditions were held for parts in all the acts. Joshua Spencer, graduate student and director of Three More Sleepless Nights, decided to take the opportunity to make his directing and acting debut at PSU. Spencer, who said he’s been acting since a young age, was cast as the young man in Rosie in the Shadow of the Melrose, which was warmly accepted by audiences at the first showing on Wednesday afternoon. Three More Sleepless Nights will run for the first time tonight.
“You’re just getting a flash into the lives of three people,” Spencer said about the piece he’s directing. “It’s an experience in the human condition and relationships.”
In the short time that these directors and actors are given, they tell full and honest stories. Why not go see them? Between the contemporary pieces and the ones from the past, the short form storytelling in refreshing and those hard-working theater students have a charm all their own.
All performances are in the student theater in Lincoln Hall, Room 115. Admission is free.
Friday, March 9 and 16, 7:30 p.m. — 8:30 p.m.
Three More Sleepless Nights by Caryl Churchill, directed by Joshua Spencer
Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti, directed and adapted by Shae Uisna
Tuesday, March 13, 12 p.m. — 1 p.m.
Time Flies by David Ives, directed by Michael Thomas Cooper
Fight Dreams by Alison Weiss, directed by Tim Pirnie
Selections from 365 Plays/365 Days by Suzan Lori-Parks, directed by Bekki Rasmussen
Wednesday, March 14, 12:15 p.m. — 1:15 p.m.
Antigone’s Red by Chiori Miyagawa, directed by Georgette Dashiell
Kuwait by Vincent Delaney, directed by Hannah Martin
Rosie in the Shadow of the Melrose by Craig Fols, directed by A. R. Jackson
Thursday, March 15, 12 p.m. — 1 p.m.
Una Corrona by Erik Ehn, directed by Sarah Christensen
The Sandalwood Box by Mac Wellman, directed by M. E. Regan