March 29, 2011

2011 SHORTS! Festival

The SHORTS! Festival is a potpourri of short plays, sometimes called 10-minute plays, which is the culminating project of the Advanced Directing 2 class. Six graduate student directors had the opportunity to choose plays and work with actors and student designers to bring their vision to the stage. Faculty Advisor Scott Hayes says “The SHORTS! Project has a great synergy between the graduate directing students and two distinct groups of theatre undergraduate students – student designers and student actors…The directors are in a perfect position to shepherd those younger actors…Both the directors and designers also learn valuable lessons in collaboration, management, budgeting, and deadline planning – all vital components of professional work that are beyond the scope of a traditional classroom experience.”

The directors were given an opportunity to share some of their feelings about the pieces they’ve chosen.

Kristi Meyers, a first year MFA student, is directing The Stronger, by August Strindberg. She says, “The Stronger is an interesting challenge for two actors. One of the characters does all the talking, but what the other character does or doesn't do is so telling that the other character has an amazing revelation. I wanted to work on this piece because it is a maze begging to be explored.”

Diana Coates is a second year MFA, directing Bagel Club. Diana “…chose this particular piece because although it's definitely a fun piece and seemingly light, it deals with people who form an organization with positive goals in mind and allow the little things to get in the way of their original purpose. We have so many examples of this in our society today and Bagel Club is just a little reminder of the consequences of such actions.”

Whitney Rappana is also a second year MFA student. Her piece is called Not Enough Rope. Whitney says, “I chose this piece because of the wonderful, ironic humor. It has a nice balance between a serious issue, while still making people laugh.”

Also directing a comic piece is Jeff Fazakerley, a second year MFA. His piece, Mustache and a Mattress “ a delightful short comedy about a man with a mustache who needs to sell a mattress and a girl that needs a mattress who’s obsessed with mustaches. Through a lot miscommunication and sexual innuendo, we see two delightful people’s lives changed in your run-of-the-mill ghetto mattress store, but not before we’ve had a few laughs in the process.”

Second year MFA Mike Salsbury moves in a more serious direction with Foul Territory. He explains, “God makes man responsible for his choices: if we flee our responsibility for those choices, we are left with hopelessness and despair. Foul Territory is a quirky, fun little show has a very serious point to make in its humor, which is why I chose it as my selection for Shorts!...I hope the audience comes away embracing the validity of hope over any sort of fatalistic understanding of life. If nothing else, I hope these ten minutes inspire dialogue and discussion about its underlying ideas.”

AJ Lease is another first year MFA student. He chose to direct The Best Daddy “… because Shel Silverstein was one of my favorite authors when I was a little boy. I rediscovered his work this year and saw that he also had written some one-act plays. After I read the show… I was hooked again and wanted to get the audience back in touch with their inner child.”

Come out and see some innovative and creative work, and support our student directors, actors and designers!

SHORTS! Will be performed in Theater 128

April 1st and 2nd at 8:00 pm

April 2nd and 3rd at 3:00pm

April 7th, 8th and 9th at 8:00pm

April 9th and 10th at 3:00 pm

Tickets are $7.00, general admission. To reserve your seat, call the Box Office at (757) 352-4245

NOTE: Mike Burnett also serves as Faculty Advisor for the undergraduate designers

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