What do horrible first dates, fairy tale “spectaculathons,” a mother-daughter con artist duo and a busy psychotherapist have in common? Each is found in Malone’s first ever Festival of Spring Shorts. Each night from Feb. 24-27, Malone students, staff, faculty and community members are invited to attend a Malone Theatre production run solely by students.
Those planning to attend can do so free of charge by donating a canned food item, which will be donated to Akron Canton Regional Food Bank.
Unlike previous productions, the plays are not full length. Instead, the festival will include four one act plays running from 20-40 minutes in length each.
“This will showcase the work of over 25 Malone students. That’s what makes it worth seeing,” Tammie McKenzie, director of theatre, said.
McKenzie oversees and directs the entire process from beginning to end, but the students run, act and direct each of the shorts. McKenzie is also the Faculty Advisor of Alpha Psi Omega (APO).
One APO member is Emily Andrews, junior communication arts major.
“APO is a theatre honorary at Malone. Essentially, this festival is an APO production. People don’t know what APO is, so we were trying to think of ways to get the student body more involved and recognize who we are as a group,” Andrews said. “We just want to reach out to the student body more. We wanted to do something everyone would be interested in.”
Andrews is also a co-director of one of the play shorts being produced. Like Andrews, members of APO interested in directing came forward and began the creative process behind the making of the festival. This process has also been unique to participants.
“Once we decided to actually do the festival, student directors had to spend a great deal of time looking at the plays they wanted, rejecting some and eventually finding one. Then we had to start thinking about casting,” said Andrews. “All of the directors had to pull actors from the same pool of those who auditioned instead of one director choosing between actors. It was really interesting having to work it out because that doesn’t normally take place in a casting process.”
Rachel King, junior biology major, is Andrew’s co-director in one of the shorts.
“This is my 6th production at Malone,” King said. “This is my very first time directing, though. My cast and co-director are fantastic and they make my job super easy and enjoyable. It’s been such a fun experience so far.”
The co-director’s cast along with the many actors in the other shorts feature both experienced actors and those new to theatre.
“For many it will be there very first time onstage,” King said. “And the shows are each very different, so you’re sure to be on the edge of your seat as you await to see what comes out from behind the curtain next.”
Louis Powers, junior Bible and theology major, is among the experienced when it comes to stage performances. Powers will play a male supporting actor in “Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon”.
“We’ve all worked very hard to put on a show that will cause the audience to feel emotion, be inspired and walk away having had a memorable experience that will last for years to come,” Powers said.
Another actor participating in the festival is Andrew Currier, sophomore communication arts major. The festival will be Currier’s Malone acting debut.
“I auditioned super last minute, and my part is small, but this play is good for people like me- people who don’t normally do plays. Since they’re shorter, we have the time to participate in these,” Currier said. “Because of this, you have a more diverse group acting in it, and therefore a bigger, more diverse audience.”
Rachel Pelletier is a Staff Writer at The Aviso