One-act plays launch drama season

Theater students are ready to perform a trio of one-act plays that will be presented by them at Campus Theatre tomorrow and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Describing them as plays within one act, these short-version performances offer everything that happens in a three-act play in generally 30 minutes to one hour. There’s a beginning, middle and an end.

“These productions are directed and performed by students who have gone through directing classes with faculty adviser Ronald Scarlata,” student director Monica CdeBaca, said.

The plots are taken from professional plays written by notable playwrights such as William Inge, Christopher Durang, and A. A. Milne.

Directed by CdeBaca, “Sister Mary Explains It All For You” is a dark comedy that tells the story of four students who return to school to visit their fifth-grade teacher who is a demented nun who has shaped their lives-not necessarily in a positive way.

“It’s pretty funny! It takes place in the ’70s and Sister Mary is giving a lecture on heaven, hell, and purgatory when the students come back,” CdeBaca said.

Student actor Giovanna Morel plays the title character, Sister Mary, while other characters include: Thomas (Kumi Yamaguchi), Gary (Jason Ellefson), Diane (Teri Murphy), Aloysius (Neil Moutrey), and Philomena (Meghan Penny).

CdeBaca said that she occasionally does some outside performances, but she got her start at EC and this is her first time directing a play.

“I want to pursue theater either as a director or stage manager; I haven’t really decided between the two because I like them both equally, but they are both very different jobs,” CdeBaca said.

“So let’s see how the audience likes it,” she said.

In addition, CdeBaca said the audience should expect a lot of dark humor, sensitive issues and a lot of truth.

“I am currently not involved with doing any other off-campus productions, but when this show is done, I’ll begin working on the ‘Nutcracker’ in Pasadena,” CdeBaca said.

Still another one-act play, “The Ugly Duckling,” is directed by theater major Xiomara Cornejo, who has several stage performances under her belt.

The storyline revolves around the princess’ search for her prince while the king and queen contrive plans to assure their daughter’s success at her final chance for marriage.

“There’s a lot of comedy and it’s very theatrical. It’s really crazy,” Cornejo said.

Cornejo said her play sticks to tradition when it comes to the things most often found in the fairy tales most of us grew up on.

“I think that everybody, children and adults alike, will be able to connect with the story, and it will be like a wonderful fantasy thing-that magic we’re trying to create,” Cornejo said. “I think that’s the most important thing.”

There are seven actors in this play, and Eric Mandy has the title role as the king.

With him is the queen (Julia Henninger), Princess Camilla (Hillary Thompson), Prince Simon (Christopher Tormo), the chancellor (Jeremy Light), Dulcibella (Holly Clark), and Carlo (Brandon Ferruccio).

Cornejo said that many of the actors have experience in other productions both on and off campus, and Julia Henninger will be performing in the upcoming play “Hayfever.”

“There’s so much talent, you’d be surprised,” Cornejo said. “I am very proud and honored to work with them.”

“It’s growth, and I think that we both get to feed from each other, and the fact that we’re students,” Cornejo said.

Cornejo said as directors, they are actor-friendly and it’s not just something they (actors) have to go through, but it’s an experience for the student directors as well, because most of them are also actors.

“We have been in their shoes before, so we’re not putting them somewhere they might feel uncomfortable,” Cornejo said.

The third one-act play “Glory in the Flower,” is directed by Alysa Vander Zanden.

This 1950s drama by William Inge tells of two former high school sweethearts who meet 20 years later to confront some issues from the past in order to help them move forward with their lives.

“The whole night as a package among the three acts offers students a lot of variety. It appeals to everyone,” Vander Zanden said.

Vander Zanden says student-actors Kenneth Tynes and Rahab Mitchell perform the main characters, Bus Riley and Jackie Bowen. Other cast members include: Howie (Chris Murphy), the Salesman (John Briganti), the Joker (Tyrone Caprice) and Bronco (John Martin).

“Theatrically, it is a very healthy form of entertainment,” Vander Zanden said.

She said that the coordination efforts of the directors, the actors and the crew that have been involved in these one-acts, have done an outstanding job.

“Technically, what the school puts together is a really professional production and scenically, the shows look really incredible,” Vander Zanden said.

In the last week of rehearsals, the crew and casts will be finalizing last-minute elements and preparing for curtain call.

“It is really exciting because there are all women directing the plays this year,” CdeBaca said.