Missouri Western’s theatre students will be performing their one act plays May 2 and 3. One act plays are complete productions that fit within a 45-minute time slot. This sets them apart from a typical play in that most plays have two full acts, if not three in some cases.
One act plays are the final exams for the students in the directing class at Missouri Western. They are going to be performed in Kemper Hall on two nights each at 7:30 p.m.
Each night will consist of two plays as each play lasts about 45 minutes. After the first play is over they will take a ten minute intermission and get the stage set up for the next cast and then the second play of the night starts.
Tee Quilin, professor of Theatre and Cinema, says that the directing students have been working on these plays since the beginning of the semester. They had to go through the process of casting. They had their own auditions for it and they went through the entire process just like any real deal director would have done.
“We did something like this last spring. But those plays were only about ten minutes each. They were completely student directed. The students cast it, they acted it and did all the work on it. I acted as just the producer of the show, taking care of preparing things,” Quillin said.
Quillin found that last year’s plays were very successful, so the department decided to extend the event even further this year.
“The last one was very successful. We had pretty much every seat in the Black Box full and the plays last spring were written by the students as well. These plays are not written by the students. These were previously published works that the director chose. I think that last year’s went very well, and this year’s will be even better because it is going to have a different feel about it,” Quillin said.
Quillin says there are three really good comedies and one mystery-style play.
“It’s going to be a great night so come out and support the theatre students,” Quillin said.
Robin Ussher is one of the students who will take part in the one act plays.
Robin says that this semester there were only four other students enrolled in the class, Brian Duskey, Ian Johnston, Kristen Jennings and Christian Allison. Because the class is so small this semester, each student director got to choose a lengthier production. They held their auditions earlier this semester, she said.
“Being cast in two, I personally had two different rehearsal processes. Each of the student directors were responsible for coordinating their own practice schedule with their actors. The two plays I am performing in are both comedies. They are both cleverly written and had us laughing out loud through rehearsals. I think these shows will be a special treat for those who enjoy theatre,” Ussher said.
Theatre student Kristen Jennings is in a play with Robin Ussher. Jennings is directing a play called “Sure Thing,” which is a ridiculous comedy.
She says that this whole rehearsal process has just been getting together with Matt Wright and Robin Ussher and running through the script multiple times, changing what they don’t like and keeping what they do.
“Matt and Robin are two really experienced actors and I truly value their opinion on what they want to do with the play,” Jennings said.