One act is all they need

This may be the only time one could find nachos and nudity in the same place.

STAGE Student Theater returns with their annual STAGE One productions, bringing original productions run entirely by students. Each of the three one-act shows is written, directed, acted and produced by the students.

“It’s a really good way for people to enter the theater scene,” said transfer student and communication major Trevor Williams. “There’s a place for everyone to contribute.”

STAGE One features three shows this year. One of these is “The First Step,” written by Joseph Olsen and directed by Michael Snyder. The story tells of the struggles of people going to Alcoholics Anonymous for various reasons, Snyder said. The main character John, played by Williams, is there because of a court order.

Williams also wrote “Tuning In,” a play that follows Arthur Mackenzie, who is in a transitional phase from one career to another.

“All the while, personal aspects of his life mingle with the professional realm,” Williams said. “Not everything goes as smoothly as he wants it to.”

The final show in the lineup, “Whatever Was in God’s Diary,” features the actors in full nudity. Snyder said the show is the most justified use of nudity in theater. The show’s playwright wrote the characters experiencing vulnerability, Snyder said.

“It’s hard to feel more vulnerable than when you are naked in a room full of strangers with everyone’s eyes on you,” he said.

Because the productions are run by students, there’s a strong collaborative effort. The writers don’t do a lot of work with the director, but will sit in at rehearsals and find out what needs revisions, Williams said.

“The director takes it in the direction he wanted,” he said. “I basically left the blueprints.”

The director then needs to take the original script and interpret it into a visual scene. Often what a playwright imagines is different from what the scene actually looks like, Snyder said.

Rehearsals start with a basic read-through of the script, and from there the cast and crew talk about the characters to get them into their heads, Snyder said.

“During the read-through and blocking you can’t think of yourself as an actor but as the character,” Williams said. “Finding the tactics and objective throughout the beats of the play.”

Original plays are a big jump from seeing a show of a story already known. Anything could happen. Williams believes these shows are the ground level of productions seen in cinemas or larger theaters.

“We are expecting the same thing with every blockbuster, romantic comedy (and) horror film. It becomes redundant and repetitive,” Williams said. “Getting to see these productions … is the evidence of the origins of originality.”

People may expect something glamorous coming into the theater, but Carbonell said these shows are very intimate. The goal is to touch the hearts of audience members, and the feeling is like the acoustic version of a song.

“I’ve been so used to coming from high school (theater) and a teacher directing us,” Carbonell said. “This feels so independent and free.”

STAGE One will run Oct. 2, 3, 9, and 10, staring at 7:30 p.m. in Wadleigh Theatre, Daggy Hall. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for general admission. The final act does contain adult language and nudity, and there will be an intermission before the last act if people would like to leave.