This Thursday, Feb. 23, the curtain goes up once again in the Marinello Little Theatre for the annual Marinello One Acts. This semester, junior Sara Abbott is making her directing debut with Rich Orloff’s “Playwriting 101: A rooftop lesson,” and senior Shannon Carroll is returning to the Little Theatre to direct her third one-act, Fraser MacFarline’s “Earwig.”
“I’m really excited for opening night,” said Abbott.
Shannon Carroll is also looking forward to opening night and said that she is very confident in her cast.
The first one-act, “Playwriting 101,” focuses on the comical behind-the-scenes world of playwriting and how to come up with an interesting story.
“Making fun of theater is sometimes the best part of theatre,” said junior Maggie McPhee, who is once again taking the spotlight, along with senior Riley Smith and sophomore Carmen Rietta.
Abbott is enjoying a different side of the theater this semester as student director. In the past, she has been a stage manager for four shows, but this is her first time in the director’s seat.
“[Directing] is a side of theatre I’ve never experienced,” said Abbott.
She has also enjoyed working with the cast and crew to create an entertaining production. “I always start off with one image of how it’s going to be. But when you work with the actors, they give you new ideas,” she said. “My favorite part is watching the show develop.”
McPhee said, “[The most exciting part about theater for me is] getting to be somebody else on stage and take the audience with me.”
Her favorite role was Wanda in last semester’s one-act, “Wanda’s Visit.”
“The script was brilliantly written and it was one of the most fun characters I have played,” she said.
Senior Matthew Klaben, one of the actors in “Earwig” agrees with McPhee. “[The best part of acting] is getting to be someone else for a few weeks and getting to try on a new character.”
“Earwig” showcases three postal workers and their struggle to figure out what to do with a disembodied head in a package they open.
In this play, Klaben plays the role of Kevin. “The facetious part of me is Kevin. I get to use all of my sarcasm,” he said.
Carroll has really enjoyed working with such an enthusiastic cast to prepare the show. “I like being collaborative and working with different acting styles.”
She has directed three plays at JCU and has also done directing work with other productions.
“I’ve never had any huge issues,” said Carroll. “[But] if it wasn’t my fifth play, I would be nervous.”
Since the one-acts are completely student-produced, teamwork is essential.
“Working with student directors is a lot of fun because we work with each other; we learn from each other; it’s less formal than working with a professor or a professional director,” said McPhee.
Sophomore Allison Schulze, the stage manager for both one-acts, has also enjoyed working with the cast and crew.
“I love the people – we always have a good time together,” said Schulze. “It’s hard to get everyone to communicate sometimes. But it always works out.”
Carroll confirmed this sentiment. “She [Schulze] is the best stage manager ever,” she said.
Thanks to a great deal of teamwork, long hours of rehearsal and dedication from the cast and crew, the campus community can look forward to two entertaining and funny productions.
“The audience reaction is what I’m looking forward to most,” said Abbott.
The shows will be at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 23, 24 and 25, and a matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Feb. 26.
Tickets are $7 purchased in advance or $10 at the door. In order to make a reservation, call 216-397-4428.