Students to present series of short plays for theatre season finale

Release Date: April 8, 2008

PLAINVIEW – An experiment started more than a decade ago returns to Wayland Baptist University as the theatre department brings Shorts XI to the stage April 17-19.

A collection of short plays directed and acted completed by students, Shorts started as a chance to give theatre majors experience in directing and casting without jumping into a full-length play. The project was so well received, both by student directors and actors who participate in the plays – even some non-majors or minors get in on the action since the roles are shorter – that it has become a part of every year’s theatre season.

This year, it serves as the department’s season finale, with five short plays on the docket. According to Dr. Marti Runnels, theatre director, the lineup for Shorts XI includes several humorous pieces and the first appearance of an original work by a Wayland student.

“Abstract Life” was written by Jordy Williams, a junior theatre and English major from Shallowater who has appeared in several Wayland productions over the past two years. This piece involves the possibility of romance between two young people and the drama that comes with it. The short is directed by Rita Cox, a WBU senior theatre major, and stars Thomas Hoffman as Paul, Grant Jasper as Alex, Amanda Allen as Eunice, Mary Feril as Valerie and Alicia Alford as Rose, all veterans of the Wayland stage.

Also featured is “Dog Lovers,” written by S. W. Senek and directed by Mary Feril, WBU senior theatre major. Starring Rita Cox and Patric Jernigan as two fanatical dog owners who meet and form a relationship, the play also stars Joanna Jernigan, a sophomore newcomer to the Wayland stage, and Jordy Williams as dogs Mitsy and Peekar, who also get to know each other as their owners do.

“Untitled No. 2” by Jim Gordon, will be directed by Thomas Hoffman, Wayland junior theatre major. The play deal with two women who meet in a museum admiring the same piece of artwork, soon discovering they have completely different ideas of what they believe the artist intended. The women are played by Khrystyne Eckerd and Sarah Buckland, both WBU theatre veterans.

Written by Tina Howe, “Teeth” involves a visit to the dentist by a female patient. Rachel Morgan directs the piece which stars WBU theatre newcomer Rachel Steed as Amy and freshman theatre student David McClung as Dr. Rose.

“It becomes evident as the piece goes on that there are more agendas emerging on the scene, and it is quite funny,” Runnels explains of the piece.

The final piece in Shorts XI is “Thumus Vulgaris” by Lanford Wilson, directed by senior theatre major Grant Jasper. The play involves a woman living in a trailer park who is trying to sort out her life. Freshman Amanda Allen plays Ruby, while newcomer Kristina Fore plays Evelyn and freshman Jake Miser plays a police officer.

Shorts will be staged at 10 p.m. on April 17 in the Harral Studio Theatre, a repeat of last year’s change-up due to a conflict in the auditorium. However, Runnels said students and others enjoyed the late-night performance so much they reprised it as well.

Performances on April 18 and 19 will be the traditional time of 8 p.m. Tickets for all performances are $8 per person, $4 for students. Reservations can be made by calling the theatre box office at 291-1089.