Cal Poly thrives on its Learn by Doing atmosphere. For theater majors and minors, it involves being part of productions. This can be acting, designing and, in one class’s case, directing.
A group of 13 student-directors will debut one act plays they have been working on this quarter. Some of the plays are comedic, while others take on a more serious tone. Each features student-created work under the direction of Theatre and Dance Department Chairman Josh Machamer. The one act plays will be performed in the Black Box Theatre, located in room 212 of the Davidson Music Center (building 45) on June 4-5. Tickets are $5 at the door and provide attendees with the chance to see multiple one act shows.
Aron Daw’s “Victoria Station”
Daw’s one act is an exploration of friendship. A play about two men who develop a connection over the phone flips between comedic and dramatic with each moment. In Daw’s work as a director, he found that the most remarkable thing was going into this with some acting experience and getting to see and experience it from the other side as a director. “Victoria Station” by Harold Pinter will be performed at 6 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Hannah Littier’s “Fairytale Fable”
Littier’s one act tells the story of what happens when a journalist discovers the world of fairytales, and what happens after the “happily ever after.” This short play explores friendship and fairytales. Littier’s experience in theater as both an actress and designer has been a strong influence for her, though she states at times that the hardest part was reigning in her ideas. “After” by Carol Mack will be performed at 4 p.m. on Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Antonio Mata’s “Spooky Story”
Mata’s one act features appearances by paranormal means. “Throwing Your Voice,” a play by Craig Lucas, tells the story of a seemingly typical night with discussions on the ethics like mining and mortality. Yet, as the play progresses, it takes a dark and surprising turn. Mata enjoyed his experience as a director, despite struggling at times with communication of what was in his head to what he wanted to see from his actors. However, Mata said, “It was so rewarding to see them find those moments for themselves.” “Throwing Your Voice” will be performed at 4 p.m. on Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Amara Villaseñor’s “Retelling History”
In Villaseñor’s one act, “Pithecus” by Dmitry Lipkin, the audience is brought into the conversation about how we discuss the past through music and dance. Villaseñor found her experience as a student-director to be very educational, from learning about the play to learning about the process and what it takes to be a leader. “Pithecus” will be performed at 2 p.m. on Saturday and at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Jack Stuart’s “Judgement Call”
In Stuart’s one act, America’s favorite past time becomes a philosophical conversation. It involves three umpires: a rookie, one in the prime of his career and a veteran. When one of them begins to question his role as an umpire, the conversation between the men turns into a discussion of morality and the concept that their job is an important deciding factor in things far beyond the play that they called. Stuart described “Judgement Call,” a play by Frederick Stroppel, as a great experience despite some minor issues. “Judgement Call” will be performed at 2 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Sabrina Orro’s “Love Story”
In Orro’s one act, simply titled “The Kiss” by Mark Harvey Levine, two close friends get even closer. In preparation for a date, a young man enlists the help of his friend to ensure the kiss he gives his date will be good. What starts as innocent advice turns into a heated discussion on the nature of their relationship. Orro’s directorial debut takes some time to look into the nature of relationships, and in her directing she found she was able to tell that story with her cast. “The Kiss” will be performed at 2 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Micah Anthes’ “Variations on the Death of Trotsky”
In Anthes’ one act, he takes David Ives’ play “Variations on the Death of Trotsky” and plays with the ridiculous nature of the script to talk about a serious matter. The play tells the story of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, and while the events leading to his death vary in this one act, his demise is the same throughout. Anthes found that being a director involved communicating his ideas with his actors. “Variations on the Death of Trotsky” will be performed 2 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday.
There are other one acts that will be performed over the weekend. At 4 p.m. on Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday, “The A-Word” by Linda Faigao-Hall directed by Kimberlee Vandenburg, “The Office” by Kate Hoffower directed by Charlie Cox and “The Society” by J. Omar Hansen directed by Emily Brehm will be performed.
At 6 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday additional performances will take place: “The Moon Please” by Diana Son directed by Caroline Rein, “Courting Prometheus” by Charles Forbes directed by Miranda Ashland and “The Universal Language” by David Ives directed by Sarah Gamblin.
The students involved in these productions, both acting and directing, have dedicated their time and money for this years’ one act festival. They have shared their thoughts on the opportunities, both the great and trying aspects, and how they have upheld the anthem of Learn by Doing. The one acts range from 10-15 minutes each and one ticket will allows you to see all of the performances for the two 4 p.m. or 6 p.m. time slots.