Ouachita Baptist University’s Department of Theatre Arts will host its annual student-directed One-Act Play Festival on Thursday, Dec. 6, and Friday, Dec. 7. The performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public.
As the name suggests, the One-Act Play Festival will feature the performances of several plays, but each with their own director, cast and crew. Unlike in years’ past, this year is unique because the student-directed plays are by the same playwright: Tennessee Williams.
“I chose ‘An Evening with Tennessee’ in part because I wanted the students to have an opportunity to work on an American playwright with work that is challenging, informative and educational,” said Joe Hernandez, assistant professor of theatre arts.
“I had the privilege of working on some of his pieces before and knew that an evening with Tennessee would give an audience a great night of theatre,” he added.
The One-Act Play Festival is the final project for Ouachita theatre students who are enrolled in Hernandez’s directing class. Students are responsible for all production components, which include recruiting a cast and crew, designing sound and lighting, compiling research for their show, taking line notes, taking acting notes and creating schedules.
“This has been the most challenging, yet fulfilling, project I have ever worked on,” said Stephen Vaughn, a senior theatre arts major from Hot Springs, Ark. Vaughn will direct The Long Goodbye by Williams.
Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen, directed by Scotty Scott, is about two people and their idea of what love is. The characters struggle with how their connection is undeniable, but they also must come to terms with the fact love is making their lives worse. “[My] goal is to make a compelling story and to find the essence of what the playwright has given us,” said Scott, a senior musical theatre major from Bentonville, Ark. Cast members include: Micah Brooks, a senior musical theatre major from Rockwall, Texas, and Kenzie Henderson, a senior musical theatre major from Heath, Texas.
The Long Goodbye, directed by Stephen Vaughn, is about the play’s main character, Joe, who plans to leave the country after the loss of a family member. Vaughn says the story is ultimately about dealing with grief and regret. “I am attracted to these types of plays that deal with real issues everyone can face,” he said. Cast members include: Dylan Blackwood, a junior musical theatre major from Walnut Ridge, Ark.; Sophie Chiocco, a freshman musical theatre major from Bella Vista, Ark.; Elizabeth Dawson, a sophomore musical theatre major from Little Rock, Ark.; Payton Hickman, a freshman musical theatre major from Siloam Springs, Ark.; Jaden Rich, a freshman musical theatre major from Bono, Ark.; and Jeffrey Wood, a sophomore Christian studies/Christian ministry major from Valley Mills, Texas.
Hello from Bertha, directed by Michaela Finley, is set in the 1920s and is about a woman who revisits her past love interests as she finds herself sick and about to be evicted from her brothel. Finley, a senior musical theatre major from Cedarville, Ark., is directing a four-person cast: Abigail Anderson, a sophomore theatre arts major from Mesquite, Texas; Elizabeth Griffin, a senior musical theatre major from Pittsburg, Texas; Hannah Hill, a junior musical theatre major from Alexander, Ark.; and Danielle Thompson, a freshman musical theatre major from Benton, Ark.
Something Unspoken, directed by Amy Lytle, is based in 1950s Louisiana and focuses on Cornelia Scott’s telephone call with her chapter of The Confederate Daughters Society during their annual elections. When the elections take a comically sour turn and Cornelia and her assistant, Grace, reach a turning point, it can’t be ignored there is something unspoken between them. Lytle is a senior music major from Plano, Texas. Cast members include: Emily Johnson, a senior musical theatre major from Benton, Ark., and Rachel Webber, a senior musical theatre major from Longview, Texas.
Auto-da-fé, directed by Lauren Terry, follows the life of a postal worker named Eloi and the choices he makes. “I chose this show because of the dramatic ending,” said Terry, a senior musical theatre major from Evansville, Ind. “When I read what happens, I couldn’t help but wonder, ‘How in the world does one get to that spot?’ I wanted to explore that question, and the discoveries my cast and I have made along the way have been incredible.” Cast members include: Molly Kennedy, a junior music major from Melissa, Texas, and Luke Wagner, a sophomore elementary education major from Alexander, Ark.
For more information, contact Joe Hernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 870-245-5561.
By William Goodson
December 4, 2018