One-act plays are ideal for college theater because they require only a small cast and few props. Although the plays are student directed, rehearsals for cast and crew remain demanding. Depending on the director, most one-acts rehearse two to three times a week for approximately two hours at a time.
The student directors have a vested interest in turning out a great production as a reflection of their hard work in the year-long directing class. The pressure is intensified because each one-act is only performed once over the course of the three days. This makes opening night especially nerve racking for the director and cast.
A special feature this year will be the combined performances of directors Lauren Vick '09 and Angela Gulner '09. Each will direct one act from the two-act play "Cloud Nine" by Caryl Churchill, using different casts. The one-acts will be presented back-to-back, resulting in a full length play.
"[Angela and I did this so] the audience could see an entire play," Vick said. "My half focuses on the British colonization of Africa and sexual and gender oppression, while Angela's is about modern-day extreme liberation, and whether or not it's true liberation, or even for the better."
Another one-act, "Hippolytus," directed by Luke Schlather '09, is a challenging play involving minimal cast and maximum confusion. In the first of many twists, Francine Boylan '11 plays the male Hippolytus. This is just the first of multiple challenges in this very unique one-act.
The story of "Hippolytus" is set in the ancient world of Greek and Roman gods, but is performed in contemporary English. As if that were not enough to stretch the abilities of any cast and crew, each character also has multiple roles.
Boylan describes the one-act as "rhythmic," "ambiguous," and "dynamic." If nothing else, this play promises to stimulate the brain as the audience tries to keep up with the apparent contradictions.
"One-acts are an important event on campus because students can see the work of fellow students as directors," student director Tom Frank '09 said. "There are a variety of shows and perspectives to see."
Twelve plays will be performed during the festival. With three nights of constantly changing artistic expression, the Quade One Act Festival promises to offer varied perspectives and interpretations every night.