New plays, small stage

Opening night, the lights cast down on the rows of chairs so an audience of family and friends could fill the seats.  

An excited murmur across the room, soon to be disturbed by loud music and a fitting fiery presentation that projected to the screen on stage. In the basement of Ives from Thursday to Friday, playwrights watched their works come to life. 

Each play was by students in the Playwriting and Playwriting II classes (THAR 367 and 377).  The festival was held to demonstrate readings of plays that are still works-in-progress.  Writers were sitting amongst the audience to hear their plays in early stages and figure out what could be improved on.  

“Top of the Hill” was the name of the first performance.  A tale of three detectives – two of which were brothers and a newbie are working on a case.  The two senior detectives are brothers, one is more reckless and the other – more cautious. 

 Giving the newbie a hard time gave the play an easy comedic appeal while the relationship between the two brothers was far more serious.  Written by Mark Wilson, directed by Alex Bretow and Camila Vasquez as stage director. Playing the detectives were Phi Tran as Alex – the newbie, Christopher Mortensen as Thomas – the more cautious, and Joe Ingalls as Rodney – the more reckless.

Written by Jenna Stefl, the next piece was titled “Swallowed Whole,” and told the tale of a couple that was going through a rough patch.  

The play described a case of bad communication and misinterpretation that led to a couple not sure where they stood in their relationship.  Audrey Rink directed the play and stage directions were by Alex Moore. Alexandra Jiongo played the wife, Connor Pratt played Brad and Kendall Bare played Amy’s friend Alyse.

The last play of the night was a concerning comedy called “Re-Up?  You’re Crazy!”  written by Adam Brasherars and directed by Doyle Ott.  The piece consisted of a number of military personnel considering re-enlistment.  

It was evident the author had done some research, though more could have been done considering a few things were not exactly accurate. The audience laughed and seemed to appreciate every well-placed joke.  The actors and stage directors included Christopher Mortensen, Joe Ingalls, Phi Tran, Isabel Meshot and Carlos Rodriguez.