Payton Clark, Arts Editor
What do a nightmare, a train ride and an international tragedy have in common? They are all plays being performed in this year’s Night of One Acts.
Beginning Thursday Feb. 9, the OBU Theatre department is presenting “Wandering Through Reality: A Night of One Acts” with three separate plays being performed. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. every night, until Feb. 12 when it begins at 2:30 p.m.
According to director Matthew Caron, these specific one acts were chosen to give students a varied acting experience.
“Part of the mission of OBU Theatre is to provide students with diverse performance opportunities,” Professor Matthew Caron said. “We historically fulfill this dimension of our mission by presenting three mainstage plays–all in a variety of genres. This year, however, we expand our opportunities to student by mounting three different and distinct plays all as part of one evening of theatrical entertainment we’ve called Wandering Through Reality: A Night of One Acts.”
Caron also attributes a large part of the Night of One Acts to the people behind the scenes.
“In addition to providing unique performance opportunities for student actors, we would be remiss not to mention the design, stage management, PR and front-of-house work for Wandering Through Reality–all of which are driven by students,” Caron said.
The first of the one acts is “The Actor’s Nightmare”, written by Christopher Durang and directed by David Kenworthy. This comedy revolves around the classic nightmare every performer has, having to get on stage and forgetting their lines.
“An Actor’s Nightmare” is a mixture of humor and “horror,” and a great start to the night of shows. Add in a little audience interaction, and viewers are in for a treat.
Next is the show “Last Train to Nibroc,” written by Arlene Hutton and directed by senior Nina Longhofer. Nibroc is a light-hearted drama set in the 1940s that tells the story of two young people who meet on a train ride and instantly connect with each other. This particular one act only shows a portion of the entire play, but the performance is enough to make it seem like a full story.
“Last Train to Nibroc” was picked by senior director Nina Longhofer due to emotion.
“I chose ‘Last Train to Nibroc’ first and foremost because it involved few characters, but it is also full of heart and depth,” Longhofer said. “The version of ‘Last Train to Nibroc’ we are presenting is actually only the first of three scenes in the full 90-minute play.”
The scene being performed is from “Last Train to Nibroc,” written by Arlene Hutton and was written as forty minute one act took to a festival.
“Audiences were so compelled by the story and what happened to the characters, Hutton wrote two more scenes creating a 90 minute one act version, as well as two subsequent sequels ‘Gulf View Drive’ and ‘See Rock City’,” Longhofer said. “The more I have read and watched this play, the more I fall in love with it.”
Longhofer believes ‘Nibroc’ shows audiences to look beyond initial impressions.
“Audiences will see reflections of themselves in these characters’ personal struggles, but they will also be drawn into the hope that sparks in the midst of such turmoil in the world on the brink of war,” Longhofer said. “May and Raleigh present the idea that everything will work out in the end for them. I hope audiences will walk away full of inspiration to be brave.”
To Longhofer, this experience directing has been both great and challenging.
“I’m very fortunate to be working with incredible actors who make my job easy- the entire play takes place on a train, so there is almost no movement of the characters which creates a challenge for the actors to maintain energy,” Longhofer said. “The best part of this experience has been seeing the vision for the show in my head come to life on stage.”
Finally, “The Women of Lockerbie” shows the aftermath of a dramatic crash of an American plane over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. As the American government tries to contain the conflict and stop it from becoming an international affair, the families of the deceased try to gather the little memories left before the evidence is destroyed.
Caron particularly likes “Lockerbie” due to its relevancy and truth.
“I’ve always been drawn to plays that imaginatively interpret true stories,” Caron said. “Even though the bombing of Pan Am 103 happened nearly 30 years ago, it is a story that is still relevant today, considering how acts of terror have become all too common.”
‘The Women of Lockerbie’ can teach audiences lessons about love and hatred.
“It’s easy to feel outrage at such acts and perhaps it is even instinctual for us to wish to repay that hatred with more hatred,” Caron said. “At its heart, ‘The Women of Lockerbie’ is about ending that cycle; it’s about repaying acts of terror and hatred with acts of love. In a world filled with hatred, it is my hope that the story of the women of Lockerbie will remind the audience of the power of love.”
Caron has enjoyed the experience of working on “The Women of Lockerbie” with this cast of students due to their efforts in preparing for this play.
“The cast has proven to be very flexible and hard working in the face of a truncated rehearsal schedule,” Caron said. “They’ve worked hard to communicate the urgency of the women and to execute their roles with honesty and credibility.”
Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office in Sarkeys Telecommunications Center, or online at okbu.edu/theatre.