Theater majors make use of talent in one act plays


Phil Carruthers

The Royall Tyler Theatre is pictured. The Senior One Acts project allows graduating theatre majors to direct a full production.

After years of helping to create someone else’s vision, four seniors are ready to construct their own.

UVM theatre majors Summer Leppanen, Jace Jamason, Caroline Dababneh and Grace McLaughlin will stage their Senior One Acts, the capstone of their major April 22 and 23.

The Senior One Acts project allows graduating theater majors to move from assisting with specialized areas of a production to guiding a play in every aspect, said Dababneh, who will be staging “Why Do We Laugh?” written by Steven Gregg.

“This is the time when we really realize everything we’ve learned from acting classes, playwriting classes, costuming, lighting, scenic design, and really are able to employ all of those skills for one project,” Dababneh said.

McLaughlin, who has directed for UVM before, emphasized the importance of being able to create her own work.

“I directed ‘Toys Take Over Christmas,’ the Christmas show here, which was my own project, but it was sort of my version of something that was already designed and done five million times,” she said.

While the sets, costumes, and makeup came pre-designed in “Toys,” McLaughlin took pleasure in having creative reign with her own production of the one act play, “The Awful, Horrible, Tragedy of Enrico,” written by Jeanette Paterson, she said.

McLaughlin is not the only senior excited to take artistic license with her one act.
Leppanen will be staging a production of “The Maker of Dreams” by Oliphant Down, a play about a woman desperately in love with her male best friend.

At least that was the case in the original. Leppanen decided to stage a genderbent production of the play to explore the social connotations of gender and sexuality in a classic love story, she said.

“I basically switched all the genders around with the characters, so it is now a queer love story,” Leppanen said. “It just raised so much more questions about what is considered normal, and what is considered to be good love” Leppanen continued.

The right to creative freedom comes with a lot of work, she said.

For Jamason, who is directing “Feeding the Moonfish” by Barbara Wiechmann, “a lot of work” means constructing the physical reality of his production in addition to the creative vision.

“I’m building three-fifths of the costumes and I’m painting the sets,” he said.

However, the work is why the Senior One Acts are worth seeing, he said.

“The One Acts showcase all that the department can do,” Jamason said.

The seniors will be staging their one acts this weekend at the Royal Tyler Theater, Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.