The One Act Play Festival in review

Diana Issa, Campus Life Reporter

At first, you are solving a mysterious murder on a cruise. Then you are growing up from teenagehood to college years while trying to deal with your own anxiety. Finally, you are far from home, feeling lonely in a new world on another continent where you are constantly reminded of how different you are. The recent “One Act Play Festival” featured all of these subjects and more. 

The “One Act Play Festival” ran several shows from Thursday to Sunday, showing three plays in a row at each performance— “Pippen & Piper and the Case of the Catastrophic Cruise,” “Buckets of Joy” and “Alone.” Thanks to the smooth transitions between the humorous first show to the emotionally heavy last one, the audience had a chance to experience a wide range of different emotions, from laughter to joy to confusion and finally, to helplessness. 

“Pippen & Piper and the Case of the Catastrophic Cruise” opened the festival, starting with the murder of one of the cruise’s passengers. The masterful sets and costumes transformed the stage to the rich social class in the mid-20th century.  The brilliant acting of first-year Kellen Flynn, who played Lady Emlyn—a very demanding woman in her middle age—set a wonderful beginning of the show, where almost every audience member laughed at the character’s pretentious and haughty behavior.

The second play “Buckets of Joy” told the story of a girl named Francis who has been struggling with panic and anxiety. The distinguishing feature of this show was its form of storytelling; the sound and set design enabled the audience not only to listen to, but also to see the thoughts of the main character. Such a trick allowed the characters more intimacy and more vulnerability with the audience, giving them the space to reflect on their own feelings.

The intensity came to a head with the final play “Alone.” It portrays the experience of an African girl who is studying at a college in the United States. The inevitable racism she faces from her sexual partners, classmates and even the teaching staff eventually breaks her down and makes her feel lonely, calling back to the title of the play. The straightforward narration of the show makes the spectators feel uncomfortable and claustrophobic, as they are not allowed to escape. However, that is exactly what highlights the importance of the message of this play—to be empathetic and inclusive without imposing your own biases on others.

In the end, everyone who visited the festival had a chance to vote for their favorite performance, which made the whole event even more interactive. The variety of the topics and its diverse presentation made the competition quite hard. My personal favorite was the first play about the scandalous murder in the ship, “Pippen & Piper and the Case of the Catastrophic Cruise.” 

Nonetheless, it is a pleasure to congratulate the “Alone” team for their wonderful work winning first place at the festival.