Expect an innovative and bold range of storytelling at ISU Theatre's One-Act Play Festival, opening March 3 in Fisher Theater. The nine plays in the festival include stories of a lovestruck alien, first dates, issues of race and policing, assassins and vampires, and pigeons in wartime.
It's the first time this student-produced festival will star in ISU Theatre's regular-season lineup. Students from advanced directing classes select, cast and direct the one-act plays, while students design all the sets, costumes and lighting.
A rotating selection of the plays, which contain adult content and language, will be performed each day of the festival, including two plays penned by performing arts senior Grant Tetmeyer.
"We're thrilled to bring these fresh perspectives and innovative talents to the Fisher Theater stage," said Brad Dell, chair of the music and theatre department. "I'm so excited for our students to share not only their amazing performances but to lead all creative aspects of the directing and design. Audiences are going to have fun."
Performances are March 3-5 at 7:30 p.m. and March 6 at 2 p.m. Each performance features a scheduled rotation of different festival selections. All seats are general admission and tickets ($20 for adults, free for students and youth) can be purchased at the door, through the Iowa State Center ticket office or Ticketmaster.
Individuals with disabilities who require an reasonable accommodation can contact ISU Theatre at least one week prior to the event at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-294-2624.
Kathryn Ripley, a senior in performing arts, is directing "Cuckoo Clock," a comedy about a first date gone wrong at a German restaurant.
"I read through so many one-acts, looking for the right one," she said. "As soon as I read 'Cuckoo Clock,' I knew that I had to direct it. It made me laugh so much, and I pictured myself having a ton of fun working on it and seeing it come to life."
As the director, Ripley is gaining new experience in creative collaboration.
"There are so many people working to get this play on its feet, and they bring so much to the table," she said. "The actors are so talented and funny, and they play the characters perfectly. With the collaboration from the actors, designers and stage management, I'm so excited to see our finished product. I hope audiences feel joy."
Heaven Booker, performing arts senior, chose to direct “Black Prometheus,” a powerful and mysterious dark comedy where two Black people are test subjects stuck in a negative-experience machine.
"I chose this play for a plethora of reasons," Booker said. "I loved all the aspects and topics this play touches on, such as police brutality, interracial relationships, prison reform and traveling internationally as a Black person. I will be challenged to tackle some of these topics with my cast in such a short time. I want them to understand the history, understand what they are saying and representing when they are onstage, and make sure the facts are correct and everyone is being represented accordingly."
Spotlight on student designers
For several of the student designers, this is their first time designing the lighting for a large-scale project in Fisher Theater.
"It'll be a learning curve that I'm incredibly excited for," said Bobbie Buie, performing arts sophomore and lighting designer for multiple plays. "Each show that I'm designing exists in a setting that is incredibly rich and different from our world, so I'm looking forward to crafting these interesting environments through lighting. I'm aiming for my design, along with scenic and costume design, to truly immerse the audience into these settings."