The One Act Play Contest

Emma Cooper

Featuring a bedazzled giant corn dog and a character dressed as a Diva Cup filled with period blood, this year’s One Act Play Contest entertained audiences of Whitman students and community members alike.

The One Act Play Contest took place in Harper Joy Theatre from Feb. 10 to 14, presenting student-written and directed plays every night.

The contest consists of three acts, each written, directed, and performed by Whitman students. Junior Tara McCulloch wrote “Worth Our Wait,” junior Drew Schoenborn wrote “boating school” and senior Troy Warwick wrote “The Incredible True Story of Corn Dog Millionaire.” Last semester, a student panel chose just three of 22 submitted scripts.

Having no limits to the content, playwrights were free to be as unique, bizarre, funny or even ridiculous as they wanted. Junior Bryan Semonsen, an actor in the One Acts, stressed the importance of recognizing the creativity within the Whitman student body.

“[The plays are] all very, very different. So … I hope the audience sees how varied theater can really be, and how ridiculously creative of a student body we have,” said Semonsen.

Since the plays can end up being so varied from one another in subject, it’s the director’s job to guide the intention of the play for the audience. Junior Theo Henderson, a director of “The Incredible True Story of Corn Dog Millionaire,” wanted not only to amuse, but also to confuse, his audience members.

“I just wanted them to laugh. Different writers and different directors probably have different things that they want the audience to experience. I just wanted to confuse and unsettle, but also make them laugh,” Henderson said.

Because the theater veteran and amateur alike is welcome to participate in the One Acts, the plays can become a learning experience for all participants. For Henderson, a debut One Acts director, it was intimidating to see the actors perform his play in front of a live audience, but it was also rewarding.

“I think just seeing it with an audience for the first time was probably one of the most thrilling things for me. It was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences I’ve had in a long time, waiting to see this thing that we’ve spent so much time with, and we’d gotten so close to,” Henderson said. “I knew that I thought it was really funny, and I knew that I thought it was really good, but I’d spent so much time and all the actors spent so much time with it, that I just wasn’t sure if it was gonna come across in any way at all.”

Competition aside, Whitman students, participants and audience members alike got to enjoy three well-crafted plays written and put on by their peers. For first-year Maddy Gold, an actress in the “The Incredible True Story of Corn Dog Millionaire,” the time and effort put into making the One Acts spectacular, both on and off stage, should be applauded just as loudly as the performers.

“Just an acknowledgment of how talented Whitman students are, these are created by students, and directed. There is so much work that goes on, both on stage and backstage that I think is really important to acknowledge,” said Gold.