Senior seminars bring crowd

Producing a meaningful performance with limited time is a trickier task than most might assume.Conveying a message, deriving laughs or moving the audience to tears is a goal more easily accomplished with prolonged character interaction.However, from April 15-18, the UVM Theatre Department hosted an impressively diverse and moving selection of One Acts, all directed by graduating theatre majors for their senior seminar class.The performances took place in the Royall Tyler Theatre and were split up into three groups.Group A performed on April 15 and 17, and was comprised of three One Acts: “The One Where No One’s Ready” directed by Emily S. Hyman, “Classi???cation: Black” written and directed by Jessie Stuart, and “Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris” directed by Alyssa Prendergast.Group B performed the April 16 and 18, and featured “Neurotic Female: A Brain Play” directed by Annie Stauffer, “Answers” directed by Tom Topor, “Debate” directed by Matthew Trollinger, and “Helen at Risk” directed by Jack Tabor.Group C performed the April 17 and 18, with “The Mystery at Twickham Vicarage” directed by David Ives, “The Magic Table, The Gold Donkey & The Cudgel In The Sack” directed by Spencer Leopold-Cohen, “On The Edge” by Brittany Flynn, “Duct Tape” written and directed by Hannah E. Shihidanian and an adaptation of “The Tell-Tale Heart” directed by Allison Fay Brown.The diversity of the performances was one of the most striking aspect of the One Acts.The narratives ranged greatly, and the directors all had very different stylistic approaches to their stories.The result was a refreshing and equally entertaining experience each time the set was removed and a new performance began.Audience engagement was extraordinary. Annie Stauffer’s piece featured a young twenty-something girl waiting on a phone call from her jerk boyfriend, and the absurd mental torture she undergoes.The narrator, played by Sam Durant Hunter, acted as an all-knowing liaison between the girl, dubbed Daphne, and the audience.The hilarious anecdotes and profanity-riddled descriptions of her inner thoughts left the audience laughing uproariously.The play was an endless trudge through the stereotypical self-doubting female experience, but the conclusion left viewers cheering in their seats long after the lights went down.The use of light was a key aspect in each of these narratives.The eerie detective story “Answers,” utilized both an intense spotlight and dim lighting in ways that completely dominated the scenario.Roughhoused by two bullying cops, the bedraggled victim squirmed under the spotlight in an uncomfortable metallic chair. As the light narrowed, the tension was tangible and the effect was moving and powerful.A number of directors also wrote their own One Acts.Hannah E. Shihidanian choreographed and wrote a stirring piece on the theme of different women’s vocal oppression, in a simple yet effectively arranged series of six monologues.The execution of these One Acts require a great attention to detail, among many  other things.These performances were hilarious, clever, moving, showcased great technical ability and serve as a testament to the knowledge and skill of these graduating theatre majors.