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‘An Evening of One Acts’ opens March 1

February 17, 2018

Three Indiana State University students are set to direct their own plays in "An Evening of One Acts" starting March 1 in the New Theater.

The evening will be a series of three 45-minute plays, "Actors Nightmare" directed by J. Myles Hesse, "Never Swim Alone" directed by Caleb Clark and "The Last Nickel" directed by Sami Ginoplos.

There is a 10-minute intermission between each play, which all feature a touch of dark comedy.

The first act is "Actors Nightmare," a play within a play that involves an accountant named George Spelvin, who is mistaken for an actor's understudy and forced to perform in a play for which he doesn't know any of the lines. Part of the humor of the play is that the audience gets to laugh at Spelvin's misery rather than their own.

Hesse is more than pleased with his cast and has enjoyed the process of directing them and handling the inevitable challenges along the way.

"I couldn't be luckier about my cast. I hoped for the best, and the best walked through," said Hesse. "The biggest challenge has been taking such an abstract piece that is a different style of theater than most people are used to and making it work. But my cast has been doing a great job at looking at character work and research so that they are able to adapt to the different styles of the play."

The next act of the evening is "Never Swim Alone," a satire about two alpha males, Frank and Bill, who square off in an egotistical boxing match of 13 rounds full of vicious undermining one-upmanship.

There is a winner at the end of each round chosen by a girl in a bathing suit. It is not immediately clear what is at stake in their showdown, only a reference to being "the first man" is mentioned.

"The driving theme of this play is toxic masculinity, specifically the tendency for men to compete to extreme ends," Clark said. "I hope people come out of this play thinking a lot about how they treat one another and how the pressures of ‘manhood' have possibly taken themselves and society too far."

One of the unique elements of the play also presents a challenge. "The play has a lot of repetition, and the characters often speak at the same time," Clark said. "The biggest challenge we have faced is finding the sense of rhythm in the show and getting everyone in sync. The cast has made incredible progress, though, and their hard work really shows."

The final play of the night, "The Last Nickel," moving play about a woman named Jamie, who has been kept up late by an obnoxious sister and sardonic puppets.

"The puppets are a manifestation of the human psyche while grieving," Ginoplos said. "It's an exploration of depression, addiction and vices that one deals with when trying to get through a hard time.

The merriment comes inevitably to focus on the cause of Jamie's self-destruction and the loss that has brought her to the edge.

"It was really important to me to have a female playwright," Ginoplos said. "I was in the library looking for a totally different play, and I stumbled across this one and was immediately drawn to it."

The three directors and their cast rehearse four days a week for three hours. Working alongside with faculty members, the students are soaking up the moment and accepting all challenges presented.

"It's a great opportunity for the three directors," said Hesse.

"An Evening of One Acts" will show 7:30 p.m. March 1-3 and 4 p.m. March 4 in the New Theater on Indiana State's campus, 536 N. 7th St.

Adult tickets are $10, non-State student tickets are $5 with a valid student ID and State student tickets are free with a valid student ID, available an hour before the night of the performance.

To purchase tickets, call 812-237-3333 or visit the New Theater Ticket Office, which will open Feb. 26 from noon-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before each performance.

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Writer: Antonio Turner, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, aturner41@sycamores.indstate.edu or 812-237-3773

Story Highlights

The evening will be a series of three 45-minute plays, "Actors Nightmare" directed by J. Myles Hesse, "Never Swim Alone" directed by Caleb Clark and "The Last Nickel" directed by Sami Ginoplos.

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