Students of the Theatre Arts 351 class premiered their directing capabilities in “Theatre On-Stage: New Directions in Directing” May 17-25 in the Jane Dibbell Cabaret and Dailey Theatre.
The week-long event, consisting of a series of one-act plays, opened with “The Bald Soprano” directed by sophomore theatre major Cole Wagner, “Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen” directed by senior theatre major Raymond del Rio, “The Last Yankee” directed by junior theatre major Jordan Randall and “Finding the Sun” directed by junior theatre major Jake Tittl.
Opening night kicked off with Wagner’s hysterically funny “The Bald Soprano,” written by Eugène Ionesco.
Throughout the play, the Smith and the Martin families engage in banter and rattle off non-sequiturs along with the Fire Chief and Mary the Maid, played by Marc Okimura in drag.
The audience was left in hysterics at the play’s final scene of chaos and absurdity.
The mood shifted with Del Rio’s vision of Tennessee Williams’ “Talk to Me Like the Rain…” which had an unconventional, yet interesting presentation of the small-scale production.
Audience members were advised to carry their chairs from the Cabaret to the main stage, where they were set up in a circle around the performance space.
Some audience members sat inches away from the actors, which created a close-knit, intimate theatrical experience.
“I think that really pulls in the concentration toward the character in the scene,” del Rio said.
The hopeless, desperate and sensual atmosphere of “Rain…” was evident in the unnamed man and woman characters’ monologues.
The third play, shown in the Cabaret, was Randall’s interpretation of “The Last Yankee,” written by Arthur Miller.
Karen, played by Sierra Taylor, and Patricia, played by Ali Franco, have become friendly during their time as patients at the mental hospital.
Meanwhile, their husbands, played by del Rio and Tittl, deal with their wives’ sicknesses in their own ways.
Randall automatically loved the play when he first read it.
“It was kind of like ‘The Notebook,’ but more messed up and realistic,” he said.
Although he is primarily an actor, Randall has a newfound love for directing.
“You have this vision for (a play), so you have this theme or moral or this metaphorical imagery that you want to convey to the audience,” he said. “It becomes your baby.”
The audience moved back to the main stage for the final play of opening night, Edward Albee’s “Finding the Sun,” directed by Tittl.
Four male-female pairs, who are all connected by family ties and forbidden love affairs, run into each other at the beach.
“Finding the Sun” marks Tittl’s directorial debut.
“The minute you think everything’s done, it’s not,” he said. “There’s always something to be done, and there’s always something to improve when you direct something.”
The festival also premiered “Portrait of a Madonna” directed by Marc Okimura, “The Pleasure of Detachment” directed by Sierra Taylor, “Blithe Spirit” directed by Jose Arias, “Adam and Eve” directed by Alexis Robles and “Postcards” directed by Mike Roche.
Directing Studio is taught by Professor of Theatre Arts David Flaten.
The final day of the festival will show “The Dumb Waiter,” directed by Bo Powell, and “Revue Sketches,” directed by Ariana Harris, 6 p.m. tomorrow in Dailey Theatre. Admission is free.
Kristina Bugante can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.