The cool, intimate darkness of Swain Hall's theater provided the perfect backdrop for Company Carolina's "One Acts Festival." The four plays acted out on the small stage brought both laughter and insight, not hindered at all by simple sets and close quarters.
"Sure Thing" by David Ives
The unconventional romantic comedy "Sure Thing" offers a fresh look at boy meets girl. When Bill (Chris Salazar) approaches attractive young Betty (Tiffany Fischer), she offhandedly snubs his advances. But at the chime of a bell offstage, Bill gets what everyone needs in the dating game -- a second chance. Actually, he gets a lot of second chances as he tries many times over, from a Woody Allen approach to the typical frat boy. Salazar adeptly acts through a variety of archetypes well, making this collegiate "Groundhog Day" an enjoyable experience.
"The Lesson" by Eugene Ionesco
Disturbing and thought-provoking, "The Lesson" explores the dynamics of power, using the relationship between a Pupil (Violet Sherrod) and a Professor (Bo Odum) as its model.
Although at first the Professor is patient and kind to the eager schoolgirl, he grows increasingly annoyed as they move from arithmetic to geography to linguistics. Tension builds as the Maid (Katheryn Soleil) interjects with oblique warnings for the Professor to stop before it's too late. His agitation crescendos into a rage in which he stabs and kills his Pupil.
The play drags somewhat through the slow build-up of the lesson, but Sherrod and Odum maintain an intensity that carries it through.
"Five for Bad Luck" by William G.B. Carson
"Five for Bad Luck" is an excellent choice for a college production. Both the situation and characters of the play are instantly recognizable on any college campus: a group of students on their way to a mixer gossip in a cruel, careless way. The unpopular but kind Effie (Leanne Price) overhears that her date, Bert (Chris Foster), had to be bribed into taking her out. She retaliates by becoming his worst nightmare.
Price plays the part of a misunderstood freshman so accurately and sympathetically that the audience cheers as well as laughs at the tricks she plays on Bert, the football hero. Her revenge is not only sweet, it's hilarious.
"The Wedding" by Mikhail Zoshchenko
"The Wedding" is a Russian satire about whirlwind romance and old traditions, but the play's mockery of the looseness of modern marriage customs in Russia easily translates to the American institution.
The groom (David Doll) finds himself unable to recognize the bride (Amal Saade) at his own wedding party. They have only known each other a week, and he's never seen her without her hat and coat. During his search for her he finds out just how little he actually knows about his wife-to-be.
All the members of the wedding party, especially his friend (Ralph Belk) and his father (Adam Sheaffer) react wonderfully to the groom's misunderstanding and mistakes. They give the comedy overflowing energy.
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