By Iman Saad
Audience members laughed and cried multiple times in the span of two hours at All College Theatre’s “An Evening of Shorts 2012” on Saturday, Feb. 11 in the Don Evans Black Box Theatre.
While ACT usually presents full-length comedies and tragedies, there was something about the four 15-minute plays that delivered almost as much as any longer play.
With two of the plays written by College students, it was evident that ACT put multiple talents and efforts together to make a series of great productions.
The first play, “Fifteen Minute Hamlet,” originally written by British playwright Tom Stoppard, was directed by senior English major Justin Mancini. The play presented a parodied and condensed version of the classic tale of a Danish Prince and his dysfunctional family.
To start the show, Mancini rose from his seat in the audience to give a dramatic opening monologue.
The performance was filled with Burger King crowns and chase scenes, becoming the most entertaining portion of the night, with its over-the-top version of the story’s hero himself, Hamlet, played by junior biology major Dan Loverro.
Another factor that made the play unique was that the stage manager of “Hamlet” also participated in the play.
Sarah Gugliotta, a junior psychology major, held up “day” and “night” signs and played various instruments, including the vuvuzela and a kazoo.
Several actors played various roles throughout the play by putting on different hats to take on new characters.
While the show had many funny moments that were enhanced by the ensemble cast, there were times when the comedy was hard to follow. Overall however, the actors presented a hilarious version of a play most students hated to read in high school.
The second play took a serious turn. “Have a Body,” written and directed by senior psychology major John Cherney, was the most serious of the plays and dealt with death.
The play begins right after a man named James, played by sophomore computer science major Graham Mazie, gets back from the funeral of his girlfriend Heather. Senior women’s and gender studies major Liz So played Heather, exhibiting serious depth and bringing sorrow to the character, a great departure from her usual humorous acts.
James and Heather’s ghost sit in the kitchen with the ghost of his deceased parents. The three talk about how James must keep living despite the tragedies.
Mazie’s part was played beautifully as he conveyed the sadness, nervousness and awkwardness of dealing with everyday life.
From watching the play to listening to the deep discussions, cynical quips, sarcastic remarks and slight jokes, it was surprising that this script was written by a student because of its depth and its serious nature.
“Post-Its (Notes on a Marriage),” directed by junior journalism major and first-time director Kimberly Horner, was a bittersweet love story between an unnamed couple, played by freshman interactive multimedia major Garrett Verdone and sophomore secondary education major Devin Dimming, who communicated mostly through the use of Post-It notes.
From their first date to the birth of their daughter to becoming grandparents, the audience got to see how these two ordinary people learn to deal with lack of milk, relationships, love, life and death.
Toward the end, the play showed that even after living with someone so long, losing the person you would leave notes for every morning is always the hardest part of life. The play used the theme from Pixar’s “Up” and ended with a spotlight fading on the actress to signify her death and the actor reading his final Post-It about how he found that, after all those years, she had kept every Post-it he had ever written to her.
Tears streamed down the Actor’s face when he read the final post-it: “We need milk.”
The wonderfully portrayed love story showed that marriage, life and death can turn everything upside down.
The final play, “Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum: A Pirate’s Life For Me,” which was written and directed by junior communication studies major Brad Heisler, helped lighten the mood after two heartbreaking stories. It told the swashbuckling story of a modern crew of ragtag pirates and their outdated captain.
Paul — the insurance intern who mistakenly signed up to be a pirate, played by junior history major Thomas Hoesly — shared his flashbacks of meeting the one-eyed, wounded Captain Skewers, played by senior psychology major John Eldis, and their pursuit of the hellish pirate ship that turned the Captain’s old crew and his betrothed into zombies.
As the story progressed with its cultural references and other jokes, it led to the climax with the Captain seeking revenge on the over-dramatic Red Marauder, portrayed by senior communication studies major and ACT president Sam Paternostro, who definitely stole the show more than Jack Sparrow himself.
The play ended with an epic sword fight. Captain Skewers defeated the Red Marauder and was turned into a zombie.
Whether it was “Hamlet” playing with dolls or the sad tales of life and death, or the action-packed adventures of crazy pirates, ACT showcased various genres and talents.