OSU Spring One-Act Festival 2012 essay

OSU Spring One-Act Festival 2012 essay


What is our life? It is comedy or drama? It is an intricate mixture of both, a dark comedy happening to all of us. OSU Spring One-Act Festival 2012 is a place where everybody can find something touching, something for the most hidden strings of one’s soul. Farces, dramas, tales and comedies will take place on the stage, reflecting and intensifying the colors of this world. For all people willing to live a small new life in several hours, OSU Spring One-Act Festival 2012 will be an unforgettable experience!

  1. Producing company and future performances

Oregon State Theatre is a community of artists whose purpose is to understand and study human experience using theater productions. OSU Spring One-Act Festival 2012 performances took place in Corvallis, OR, on the Withycombe Main Stage, 30. The performances started at 7:30 p.m. on May 17, 18 and 19, and the final performance took place on May 20, at 2 pm. The 2011-2012 OSU theatre season is now over, and new performances are likely to be schedules closer to the fall. However, the productions performed during Spring One-Act Festival 2012 are not likely to be repeated during the next festivals.

  1. Summary of the plot

There were six plays in the programme of OSU Spring One-Act Festival 2012: “The actor’s nightmare” by Christopher Durang, director Davey Kashuba, “Fear” by Crane Johnson, director Megan Grassl; “Your everyday ghost story” by Lanford Wilson, director Abbey Pasquini; “Paradise” by Romulus Linney, director Rowan Wolff Russell; “Get out of your cage” by Mary Plowman, director Tucker Minnick, and “Jolly jack junior” by Jeff Goode, director Sarah McKinney.

“The actor’s nightmare” is a play about an accountant, who was mistakenly considered actor, and forced to take part in a play which was absolutely new for him. “Fear” is a drama where a pleasant and charming young man terrorizes a lady. “Your everyday ghost story” is a tale showing the devastation and destruction of AIDS. “Paradise” is a tragicomedy where a family is trying to establish in Florida. Personal conflict of duties and the wish to live an adventurous and rich life is shown in “Get out of your cage”. “Jolly jack junior” is a short comedy with pirates, sea travels and swordfights. Overall, OSU Spring One-Act Festival 2012 had plays for virtually all tastes. For me, two plays were most impressive, “Get out of your cage” and “The actor’s nightmare”.

  1. Reaction to the script

Since it is necessary to choose one production which was the most impressive, the following sections will describe “The actor’s nightmare”. The play is designed as a comedy, but it touches many important concepts such as the place of a person in the modern world, the reality of events happening to us, and internal fears. Direct theme of the production was actor’s fears, but, in my opinion, this play also shows how easy it is to doubt the reality of the world, and how perception shapes the future events in our lives (and can lead to unexpected end).

George, the main character, is an ambivalent person: his reactions and attempts to testify the reality of the play are very compelling, as well as his ability to mix up several classic plays. However, George’s inability to find out what is going on, and obedience to the circumstances form a weak image (although rather comic, at times).

Important characters are Meg and Sarah. Meg seems to be the “good cop” in this setting, as she is trying to help George. Sarah convinces George to accept the strikingly real execution, and calls him “Hamlet”, and most likely plays a role of the bad fortune for George. Two particularly interesting characters are the Executioner, who appeared at stage only once, and the Announcer – a voice announcing performance casts and warnings. These characters shape the settings and increase the degree of fate in the play.

  1. Reaction to the production

The production was well-organized and performed successfully. Davey Kashuba, the director of the production, is a student majoring in theater. His selection of actors and work on the production were highly effective, and the overall production  was really memorable. Most characters were played by OSU students, and one community member was involved. This was Eric Leman, who played the main character, George Spelvin. The presence of an experienced actor made the play stand out among others; for example, “Get out of your cage” was played by all students who were new to the stage, and the production was somewhat weak.

In the case of “The actor’s nightmare”, the play of actors was very effective and successful. They performed their parts perfectly and the audience grew more and more absorbed in the message of the play and in the unfolding events. The work of Eric Leman was particularly notable, and although George as character did not strike me much in the play, Eric Leman was really impressive in his process of switching between the imaginary plays, trying to fit in the roles, and searching for the truth and for the reality in this surrealistic whirlpool of events. The process of his “trial and error” search for reality, and the emotions he exhibited in the process, were outstanding.

Nicole Snyder, who played Meg, did a good job playing her role, but it is difficult to note something outstanding in her acting. At the same time, Megan Haverman, who played Sarah Siddons, was rather impressive, especially in the process of quoting Hamlet. Chris Peterman, who played the role of a grand actor Henry, was also good in his role, and he was a great Horazio in the part of the imaginary play where “Hamlet” was involved.

Mason Atkin played the role of another actress, Ellen, and also did a good job, although at times she was not sure of her position on the stage, and that could be felt by the audience. Announcer and Executioner were both great, and perfectly fulfilled their functions. There was not many space for acting in their roles, but what was done, was good.


OSU Spring One-Act Festival 2012 was a great festival of short plays, where everyone could choose a play for own liking. Although the plays were directed and staged by students, there were many impressive productions, and one of the was “The actor’s nightmare”. The play selected for the production is a kind of absurd comedy, which in the end touches deeper questions. Director of the play, Davey Kashuba, selected a community member for the main character, and this helped the play look impressive and professional. “The actor’s nightmare” directed by Davey Kashuba is definitely worth seeing, so if it would be staged in OSU theater again, it would be possible to recommend it to all viewers who like plays with several layers of meaning and plays which encourage the audience’s thinking.