One act play festival to focus on campus-relevant topics, issues

With the conclusion of its 2015-16 season, the St. Olaf Theater Department is now presenting the Quade One Act Play Festival, comprised of seven one-act plays directed by seven different directors from the Intermediate Directing class. The festival will occur on Friday, May 13, and Saturday, May 14, in Haugen Theater.

The directors started work on their plays shortly before spring break. Most of the stages of production — including adapting the script, casting and rehearsing — are conducted by the directors themselves under the supervision of Artist in Residence Gary Gisselman and teacher’s assistant Dylan Stratton ’16.

The plays shown in the Quade One Act Festival are: Skylight by David Hare, directed by Margaret Jacobson ’17; House of Cards by Charles Mee, directed by Joanna McLarnan ’17; Bent by Martin Sherman, directed by Marcus Newton ’16; Tigers Be Still by Kim Rosenstock, directed by Shannon Brick ’16; Old Times by Harold Pinter, directed by Zonglun Wu ’16; Tomatoes by Ash Willison ’17, directed by Willison; and Small Talk by Jenna McKellips ’16, directed by Becca Thavis ’17. The seven half-hour plays will be divided into a two day event.

Directors chose their play based on themes and messages they wish to convey to the St. Olaf community.

Small Talk, for example, is an attempt to portray St. Olaf’s social media life. Every social media quote and reference used in the show is an exact quote from the St. Olaf YikYak, Facebook or Twitter — the words of our peers.

“People are like squirrels; sometimes, we just like to hear the sound of our own voices. But what we say matters,” Thavis said.

Skylight is a story about a man and a woman who had an affair. The play depicts the man’s visit to his girlfriend after his wife dies. According to Jacobson, the play shows how complicated human relationships are, especially when love is involved.

“We do not know what to do, how to feel. We want to stay with them and, at the same time, want to leave them,” Jacobson said.

The show is a valuable experience for the directors. They have had to overcome many obstacles, such as adapting the script. They were sometimes forced to make painful cuts in order to stay in the half-hour time limit.

There are also fun memories between the directors and their cast.

“The stories that randomly come up because of our characters or the warm ups,” Thavis said, “To get everyone comfortable, I made them roll across the room, on top of each other, or carry people without using their hands. It is hysterical.”

The Quade One Act Festival runs May 13 and 14, starting at 7:00 p.m. on both nights.