Theater festival features eclectic collection of performances

Mike Breen and Taylor Bryan perform “Dissonance” for the Student Theater Festival in the EZ black box theater. Eight plays written by and performed by students will open tonight at 8 p.m. and will run until Saturday. Photo by Brian Smith.

Mike Breen and Taylor Bryan perform “Dissonance” for the Student Theater Festival in the EZ black box theater. Eight plays written by and performed by students will open tonight at 8 p.m. and will run until Saturday. Photo by Brian Smith.

Megan Confer

Theater students will step into the EZ Black Box Theater in order to step out of the box with short performances of adultery, murder, comedy and a variety of other themes for the student theater festival.

The school of theater and dance presents the student theatre festival at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the EZ Black Box Theater in the music and speech building. Admission is free and open to the public.

“It’s an annual festival that the theater department puts on,” said Jerimie Newcomb, senior theatre studies major and one of the student directors for the festival. “It’s meant to showcase works that we don’t normally do, shorter pieces, and things that are outside of the box.”

Sarah Coon, senior theater studies major and a student director, said the festival is different than anything performed on the main stage.

“It’s a collection of short works,” Coon said. “When you go to a main stage production you’re seeing one piece the whole night, something like ‘Ragtime’ or ‘Nathan the Wise.’ This you’re seeing seven works at one time, and these are in extremely diverse set of works. Hundreds of years are separating these works.”

Coon said there is an assorted set of pieces this year, including three by playwright Neil LaBute. These pieces explore reality and modern subjects.

“They are all contemporary pieces, they have all been written in the 2000s,” Coon said. “They are very recent, dealing with modern life.”

Coon said there are also several other pieces that are only a minute to two minutes long.

“Then to contrast that, we have pieces that are part of an Italian movement called ‘Sintesi,’” she said, “that are extremely short pieces that attempt to capture something in the shortest time possible. “

Some of the pieces selected were chosen from curriculum in the Theater History class, said Coon.

“The final piece is called ‘Coram Populo,’ which deals with the nature of good and evil,” Coon said. “We thought it would be fun to see what they look like on stage. It’s great for the students who have had the Theater History course to say, ‘Oh this is what it looks like when it’s actually done.’”

Newcomb said students primarily run the festival from the directors to the designers and the cast.

“I am directing three of the pieces in the festival,” Newcomb said. “We’ve been working for about a month and half now. I’ve done everything from costume work to props.”

Newcomb said it has been an amazing process.

“It’s refreshing to be a part of it,” Newcomb said. “It challenges me as a director to challenge my cast. To watch anything take shape is a great experience.”

Contact Megan Confer at [email protected].