One act performers showcase their emotional stage presence

Lush, classy costumes and big band sounds invoke the spirit of the roaring ’20s for a night of two one-act plays: a drama and a comedy.

Director Michael Fox chose two pieces written by Texas playwright Horton Foote. He won academy awards for best screenplay 1983 for Tender Mercies and in 1962 for To Kill a Mockingbird. He wrote more than 50 one-act plays in his lifetime.

“He is an award-winning, Texas playwright born in 1916,” Fox said. “And he died this year in March.”

Performances were held in the Azalee Marshall Cultural Activities Center in Oct. 30 and 31.

“The space is great. The technical support is outstanding, and it’s one of those places that is available,” Fox said.

Sophomore Jennifer Loyd (left) and freshman Levi Seymore rehearse for the one-act play Spring Dance. Photo by Lindsay Schaefer

Sophomore Jennifer Loyd (left) and freshman Levi Seymore rehearse for the one-act play Spring Dance. Photo by Lindsay Schaefer

One-acts are plays that take place in one scene.

“In a one-act everything happens from setting it up to the conflict to the resolution, if there’s a resolution to be had. There may not be,” Fox said.

Spring Dance has no resolution.

“It’s just a snapshot in time; it’s like you’re eavesdropping on these four troubled souls,” Fox said.

The play is set in a sanitarium in Austin in the 1920s.

“The theme that goes through the whole play is going home. They all want to go home,” Fox said.

Freshman psychology major Joshua Kirwin played the part of Greene Hamilton.

“He is an emotionally unstable gentleman in an insane asylum who is pretty high-strung, and he loves his shoes,” Kirwin said.

Kirwin gave Greene a nervous tick and constantly wrung his hands on stage.

“You have to find a happy medium between overacting and being a believable character in this play,” he said.

Freshman Christian ministry major Levi Seymour played Dave Dushon, who remains silent during the one-act.

“They needed a guy who didn’t talk at all, and so I was more than willing,” he said.

During the performance, Seymore barely moves a muscle.

“It’s hard not to laugh or smile for forty minutes in a row,” he said.

Jennifer Loyd came in at the last minute to play the part of Annie, a forgetful woman who lives in the sanitarium.

“She wasn’t the person that I originally cast,” Fox said. “She came in almost six weeks after we started rehearsals and she has done a wonderful job.”

Freshman computer graphics design major Stephen Webster played the
role of Cecil Henry. He seems sane until the last few minutes when he introduces himself to Annie, whom he has already met.

“When you think of crazy people, you think they’re like jumping off
the walls and in straitjackets… but that’s normally not the case,” Webster said.

In Blind Date, Webster played the role of Felix, the straight-laced suitor. He had a hard time keeping a straight face in this comedic play.

“I just take deep breathes because otherwise I’ll crack, that’s my technique,” Webster said.

Sophomore nursing major Brandi Manthei played Dolores Henry, the aunt in Blind Date.

“She’s very quick, her mind’s always working,” she said.

Manthei’s character is a match-maker for her niece.

“She is trying to set up her niece on a date with lovely Felix,” Manthei said.

Fox said that for non-paid actors, applause is the greatest reward for their efforts.

“When there’s a large audience, the actors really feed off that.”

Author: Evangeline Grace Ciupek

Evangeline Grace Ciupek is currently studying English at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and plans to graduate in May 2011. She joined The Bells staff Spring 2009. She is usually found reading enormous books assigned to her by professors, battling bugs in her parents' garden, playing acoustic guitar, or knitting the lone sock she's been working on since last Thanksgiving. While a career in journalism remains somewhat undesirable to her, Evangeline is grateful for the opportunity to improve her writing skills through involvement on The Bells staff. Her dream career would be that of a starving artist.

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