The play’s the thing, times 3
Annual Winter One Acts open Thursday
By Michael Luce
Ever wanted to sit so close to the action you can see the faces of the players? Do you ever want to feel like a part of the fun without actually working? Are you one who has to constantly resist the urge to reach out and touch your favorite stars?
Perrysburg High School has the show for you.
You might have assumed I was referring to a basketball or volleyball game, but the Theatre Department is taking center stage (pun intended) and presenting three shows for the price of one. The annual Winter One Acts are a collection of three short plays whose topics have spanned everything from a camping trip gone wrong, to the death of a friend, to a fight over vegetables.
This year’s shows are “The NSA’s Guide to Winning Friends and Influencing People Or, What We’ve Learned from Watching You,” “First Person Shooter,” and “Check Please.”
“You don’t get one story, you get three. It’s like a deal on bread. If there were a buy-one-get-two free on bread you’d take that deal,” said Jeet Shaha, a senior who plays an NSA agent.
[service title=”If you go” icon=”icon: calendar”]Performance times and dates:
* Jan. 21 through Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
* Jan. 24 at 2:30 p.m.
* Jan. 28-30 at 7:30 p.m.
* Jan. 31 at 2:30 p.m.
All seats are $8.[/service]These diverse topics are presented in a setting unlike any other show, and the audience actually sits on the stage. Seats are available on three sides of the action, which provides a different take depending on the angle viewed from. Additionally, there are six different places where actors, props, and set pieces enter and exit from.
Junior Bon Romp explained that the whole show is “much more intimate than anything else.”
Intimate is the perfect word to describe WOA, both onstage and behind the scenes.
Spencer Tye, a sophomore, remarked that the experience is special for tech. All crews are also on stage, and anyone can see Tye, a co-chair for sound, or other crew members as they walk in. Rob Gentry, the theatre director, added that is a rare opportunity for those who don’t usually participate in theatre to see all the hard work from all sides of the program.
Both Romp and Shaha touched on how much they loved the aspect of becoming a completely different character and embracing the often crazy things those characters get themselves involved in.
With the cast divided between three plays, cast members get to know their cast mates better than in a massive show such as the spring musical. Shaha explained that this leads to a lot of fun onstage as well as offstage. Getting to know co-stars and perform with close friends is one of his favorite parts.
The opening play is called “The NSA’s Guide to Winning Friends and Influencing People Or, What We’ve Learned from Watching You.” The main focus is on two NSA agents who are trying to clear up a pressing rumor: The government is spying on people and trying to ruin everyone’s lives. These two agents explain that the real intention is safety and enforcing that living with such a lack of privacy has benefits including: making new friends, time to talk to family, and communication the NSA way. The whole play is filled with hilarious moments of unexpected results where everyday people and governments collide.
The second act of the evening is usually a more serious topic. Mr. Gentry explained it this way: “We like to make people laugh, but we also like to present social issues. … Whereas most [productions] have the purpose to entertain, we also want moments to teach and be expressive. … Educate is the key word.”
In this year’s second act, “First Person Shooter,” Bon Romp plays Tad, a high-school-aged kid who reflects on his life as well as the life of his friend Charlie. He looks to the past to see what he could have done to prevent a shooting in his school and what he could do differently to help his friend before life took a turn for the worse.
Romp acknowledged that the topic was a very touchy one for some as a current issue. He wants to present the issue as best he can and show to everyone how a shooting affects everyone. More than a few tears were seen following the cast preview.
To prevent sending audiences off on a depressing or sad note, the final act returns to comedy. “Check Please” shows the struggles of blind dating as two individuals try to find a decent date, but end up with everything from a mime to a girl whose split personalities include a monkey. Spencer Tye, the sound co-chair, cited the act as his personal favorite due to the high amount of humor.
WOA is happening this week Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. However, if you are unavailable this week, there is another chance to see them. The plays will be performed for a second week Jan. 28-30 also at 7:30 p.m. and Jan. 31 at 2:30 p.m. All seats are $8.
Tye invites all to come see the show and to say hi to him as they walk by. In his opinion, the show is a perfect for a date night, or for something fun to escaping the winter chill. Mr. Gentry’s piece of advice is to come because even if students don’t enjoy the plays they get to see friends in a new light.
“I think some would be surprised at the level of production the students can put on,” he said.