Unconventional theater in unconventional places
Powder and Wig presented its latest work this past Saturday, a group of short plays presented around campus in a guerrilla fashion. At the same time that Big Boi was performing, Colby students were displaying some original work in some very original performance spaces. Performances took place in Roberts, on the steps and in the street of Miller Library, in the Fireside Lounge and lounges in Mary Low and Dana. The Colby One-Act Festival, titled Back in Ten Minutes, referred to the length of each play. It is an adaptation of the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin One- Act Festival, which failed to materialize when Bates and Bowdoin backed out. Six plays, five of which were original works by students, were each performed twice.
Francesco Tisch '12, Sean Senior '10, Tyler Parrot '13, Michael Trottier '12 and Grant Patch '12 each wrote a short play; aside from Senior, whose play was directed by Yuri Min '12, each wrote and directed his own work. Plots varied greatly and included a noir detective story, an adaptation of a H.P Lovecraft short story and several examinations of family bonds. The most absurd play was without a doubt the one written by Patch. Entitled Fish Don't Have Souls, Patch's play took a long look at family dynamics between a father, mother and son, whose relationships are not clear, even to each other.
Trottier's play, The Prettiest Girls, overcame great difficulties to have two successful performances; one of the two actresses was hospitalized with food poisoning, and her replacement started learning lines just forty-five minutes before curtain time. Despite this setback, Girls was fantastically well-written and well-acted, a dark family drama that closed in total blackout.
Anyone in attendance on Saturday night who had also seen the New Play Practicum last spring would have recognized the character Dick Wesson, Private Eye, the creation of Sean Senior. In his return to the stage, Wesson faced voodoo magic and zombies in a story reminiscent of Live and Let Die. The Bust of the Damned was acted out on the Miller steps, and the low lighting and outdoor setting lent an appropriate ambience to the gritty crime drama.
Each short play featured a wonderful cast of actors with casts ranging in size from two to five. To mention all the actors here would be a tremendous task, and of course, risk forgetting someone. Suffice it to say that each performer showed a great amount of talent by performing admirably in the situation he or she was placed, handling both the late hour of the shows (close to midnight by the end of the tour, which began after 10 p.m.) and the difficulty of performing in open spaces, where anyone could (and often would) walk by. Back in Ten Minutes was a superb showcase of acting skills here at Colby and a great way to spend a Saturday night.