The play’s truly the thing now
Forget about sweating it out cramming for a final exam.
For the fourth-year directing students at Thompson Rivers University’s theatre-arts program, graduating is yet another stage — one on which they will present their own versions of a one-act play.
The Directors’ Festival is a collection of works each student has chosen, analyzed, researched, cast, directed — and likely sweated over as they await opening night today (April 12).
Seven plays will be performed several times during the next two weeks, with a goal to not only elicit some applause from the audience, but to also get a passing grade from assistant professor Robin Nichol.
It’s a long process, Nichol said, with the students starting their search for that perfect one-act play before Christmas.
One that’s done, they have to dive right into it, learning everything they can about the play’s genesis, its purpose — all those little bits that need to be absorbed before the directing can begin.
They have to provide Nichol with an essay reviewing what they have learned, another aspect in determining their final mark.
Next, it’s rehearsal time — and, for the third-year acting students who will eventually fill the roles, this step is just as important to them.
While the directors will be marked on how they do off-stage, these students will be graded on their performances.
Nichol plays a role in the audition process, as well, helping cast the plays to be sure everyone has a role — and the young directors aren’t all bickering over who will get the best acting students.
Nichol is impressed with the plays chosen.
“They went to the dark side this year for sure, but there are some great scripts. There’s some serious stuff but some funny ones, too,” Nichol said.
The plays include:
• Feeding the Moonfish by Barbara Wiechmann, a play about a burger-joint cook who drives to the swamp every night to sit on the dock and talk to the fish.
A young girl hides in his truck and discovers this behaviour.
They talk, they share and bare their souls.
• All in Little Pieces by John Yearley, an apparent comedy about a house sale between two women — a transaction that takes a sudden turn and the sale becomes something completely different.
• Catch by James McAndrew, a story of romance, confusion, love and a quest for the truth.
• The Thread Men by Thomas Dunn, the story of a psychiatrist trapped in a stalled elevator with another man, who is behaving strangely.
• Tickets Please! by Anthony Sportiello, the story of a high-powered businesswoman taking the train to work.
She encounters a stranger who shouldn’t be there but is — and the conversation that ensues can affect the woman’s life.
• Correct Address by Judd Lear Silverman, a drama of love, loss, family ties and resolving issues.
• Mexico City by Hannah Moscovitch, another comedy — sort of — about a couple looking for the “real” Mexico and discovering much more than they had expected.
The plays are grouped for presentation; Feeding the Moonfish, All in Little pieces and Catch are Group A, the other four are in Group B.
The schedule alternates through the six nights; this week, Group A is on-stage today, April 7 and April 13; B is the alternate nights.
Each are between 20 and 30 minutes long.
Showtime each night is 8 p.m.
Tickets are $12 and available at the box office at the theatre in the Old Main Building.