By: Miles McQuerrey, Contributing writer
In an intimate space with soft lights and quizzical props, theater magic took place. Students became directors, actors and production crews of professional proportions. Audience members became visitors in a realm of absurdity, comedy and drama.
These evenings of “Student Directed One Act Plays” took place from May 6 – 9 in the Center for the Arts Building and featured two plays.
Towson student Sadie Lockhart directed “No Exit,” written by Jean-Paul Sartre, and Lianna Brizzi, also a Towson student, directed “The Bald Soprano” by Eugene Ionesco.
Senior and acting major Alex Lewis came to the show to see his friends perform.
“I like good stories,” Lewis said. “I like to be part of the storytelling in those good stories.”
Lewis said that experiencing live performances in a world of film, television and Netflix-centered entertainment is so important.
“That personal experience,” he said, “Actually being there. Being in the room.”
During “The Bald Soprano,” the stage was littered with a variety of clocks, none in sync. The wallpaper behind the actors was peeling away. Pink Floyd’s “Time” bookended the performance.
These contextual clues, coupled with the play’s cyclical ending, reinforced the play’s theme: the fallibility of deductive reasoning and how it challenges the qualities of time itself.
The play centered on the peculiar interactions between the Smiths, their maid, the Martins and a fire chief. Bonds of marriage were fragile, almost illusionary, and love interests could have been shuffled like a deck of cards at any moment.
If each character were a season, Mrs. Smith, played by senior and acting major Rebecca Clendaniel, would be spring.
“She’s always happy and fresh, and granted she has her awful rainy days, but she’s mostly the sunshine of the show,” Clendaniel said. “It’s a lot of work, especially for Mrs. Smith because literally the first two pages of the script is just a monologue for her.”
Brennan Walker, a junior and theater studies major, played Mr. Martin who could be characterized as the opposite of Mrs. Smith. To prepare for the role, Walker takes a unique approach.
“I just kind of lie down and don’t talk to anyone,” he said. “I burp a lot right before the show starts.”
“No Exit” was equally ripe with clever absurdity. Wit extended from the actors’ lines to the very walls around the stage. Makeshift notes that read “No” were taped next to the room’s green exit signs.
Both Clendaniel and Walker find the work they do in the theater to be tremendously important to the individual and society, respectively.
“Theater is important for the individual… it’s been such a therapy for me,” Clendaniel said. “Everybody in this room will have a different experience and you have all shared that experience. I think that’s really amazing.”