York College One-Acts
Emerging Directors under lights
by Nathana Faddis
The York College Drama Department is gearing up once again. With the close of the musical, “Little Shop of Horrors,” the stage is now being set this weekend for the upcoming one-act plays. Under the direction of four emerging directors will be four comedies with various styles of humor from parodies to slap stick. The young directors have held auditions, led practices and soon they will be watching their hard work come alive.
The first play, “Great Western Melodrama” by Florence Huntington Morris, will be directed by senior theatre major Stephen Detlefs. It is a comedy about a western play where all the cast has been quarantined and the stage hands have had to fill their spots. Throughout the scenes Murphy’s Law will be witnessed – from dropped lines to missed sound effects and just plain bad acting. The cast includes AJ Wharton, Ben Krekel, Ben Ketcherside, Mitch Roush, London Hawley, Michelle Peck and Taylor Ladd.
The second play, “The Ugly Duckling” by A.A. Milne, will be directed by senior theatre major Elise Hart and assisted by Landon Roseberry. It is a story about an arranged marriage where the princess is very homely. The parents plot to have a lovely maid pretend to be the princess until the wedding. At the same time the prince, intimidated by the stories of the princess’s beauty, sends a handsome impersonator to pretend to be him. Ironically the real princess and the real prince meet and fall in love. The cast includes Bethany Saylor, Andrew Miller, Janae Parsons, Kayla Lawrence, Natasha Hackett, Patrick Good and Greg Johnson.
The third play, “Save Me a Place at Forest Lawn” by Lorees Yarby, will be directed by senior theatre and history education major Nick Parsons. This play is about two elderly women, both widows, who have little left except for the final repose of “Forest Lawn.” It shows a small part of their lives in the light of uncertainty. It is written with simple, moving humor. The two-person cast includes Kathleen Pearson and Sara Firm.
Last, but not least, “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)” by Adam Long, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, will be directed by senior theatre and history education major Brittany Ellis and assisted by Paul Helms. This will be a side-splitting, comical rendition of most of Shakespeare’s works. Regardless of one’s feeling on Shakespeare, this comical recounting will keep you laughing at its various interpretations, including a rap of Othello. The cast includes Matt Ward, Mitch Clay and Royce Roberts.
According to junior Mitch Clay, his favorite part of the play is “the fact that it still shows reverence to William Shakespeare and yet it makes it very comical and easy to watch.”
Head of the Theatre and Communications Department, John Baker III, commented on the value of the one-acts for not only the student directors, but also for the actors. “First of all, it gives an opportunity to young directors to direct a show on stage and have someone to help guide them before they enter the professional world. It is like an internship in another career area. It also allows for freshmen and those new to the stage to prove their abilities and have a chance to act.”
As put by Baker, “They are fun comedies to watch. There are four great scripts with four great emerging directors, all with their own style.”
The performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 21 and Saturday, Nov. 22 in the Gurganus Performing Arts Center. Performances are free for the public.