Challenge accepted: 10 minute plays

Snippets of real life: Fully fun freshmen students Kathrine Reaves and Kevin Repich explore conflict and comedy in the theatre arts department’s production of 10 Minute plays entitled TasteFULLY DysFUNctional March 8, 9 and 10 in the Black Box Theater. Photo by Haakon Asker, Staff Photographer
Snippets of real life: Fully fun freshmen students Kathrine Reaves and Kevin Repich explore conflict and comedy in the theatre arts department’s production of 10 Minute plays entitled TasteFULLY DysFUNctional March 8, 9 and 10 in the Black Box Theater.
Photo by Haakon Asker, Staff Photographer

There are 600 seconds in just 10 minutes.

One could burn over 300 calories in a 10-minute CrossFit workout. One could run a mile and a half in 10 minutes. One could admire a sunset or sunrise or even play one hole of golf in 10 minutes.

Better yet, on March 8, 9 and 10, you can watch the Ten-Minute Play Festival presented by California Lutheran University’s theatre arts capstone class.

All shows will be in the Blackbox Theater. On March 8 and 10, the festival will start at 8 p.m. and March 9 at 2 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

This will be the sixth time the theatre arts department has presented the Ten-Minute Play Festival. The theme of the plays is ‘unconditional relationships,’ which is reflected in the chosen five comedies and three dramas.

“This year we’re calling our theme ‘TasteFULLY DysFUNctional’ and it’s a series of shows that deal with all kinds of relationships, especially the ones that are unconventional, fun and sometimes a little dysfunctional,” said senior executive committee member Ashton Williams.

In order to come to the decision of the theme, the class first had to read through hundreds of plays.

“The capstone class forms a theatre company comprised of all members of the class. Each student is responsible for reading 30 different plays and selecting their individual top ten choices,” said Michael Arndt, who teaches the capstone class. “After presenting those choices to each other, 20 plays are voted on. Each member then reads all 20 and a final number is chosen. The plays are then decided on by secret ballot where as a class, we selected the eight plays,” Arndt said.

The theatre arts department held open auditions for the CLU student body on Feb. 3. According to Arndt, over 40 actors auditioned from the campus community.

“We had one actor come and audition who was not a theatre arts major and he just fit the role in one of our plays so well that I and several others looked at the directors of the play and said, ‘We don’t care who else you cast, but he has to be in this play,’” Williams said. “Once he auditioned we couldn’t see anyone else in the role but him.”

Junior and master electrician Will Cowles-Meyer will perform in the play “Loyalties.” Cowles-Meyer works with the 16 directors to create the lights for each play to set the time of day and create the mood.

“In one of the productions we have created a color wash to reinforce the death scene,” Cowles-Meyer said. “It’s more about the story than the set. The serious pieces that we are putting on are more thought-provoking and we use the light to reinforce the mood of the scenes.”

Not only does the capstone class create certain moods within the plays, but there is a great deal of consideration given to the order that they are performed.

“We open the festival with a comedy to engage the audience and before the break for intermission, we present one of the more serious plays to get the audience talking during intermission,” Williams said. “When we return from intermission, we present another thought-provoking play to continue the conversation amongst the audience and then we end the festival with a light-hearted comedy.”

“I am extremely proud of the capstone students who have taken on every aspect of theatre production to mount these plays including: directing, design, publicity, marketing, budgeting, securing royalties and stage management,” Arndt said. “The plays move quickly and are quite varied providing comic and dramatic moments, which should thoroughly entertain audiences.”

The shows the capstone class have chosen range from television host Jerry Springer to serial killers and almost everything in between.

“‘Loyalties’ has a lot to say. It gives an interesting narrative on opposite stances of war and brings up a topic that really needs to be thought about,” Cowles-Meyer said. “I’m very excited to see the audience’s reaction to the ending, it’s very shocking. There is going to be a lot of discussion while walking home to their dorms.”

 

Drew Thomas
Staff Writer
Published March 5, 2014