A friend and I attended the opening of the annual student created production, The One Act Plays. This event is a highly student driven production, as the three plays are not only performed but also written by Whitman students. Each play is its own unique, stand-alone story. After viewing the different plays, the audience is given the opportunity to vote on their favorite of the three.
The first play followed a young aspiring astronaut and his family after he failed to get into NASA’s space program due to his smoking habit. The dialogue is quick and clever, and the play ended shockingly as the young man burns off the NASA tattoo on his arm in what he believes to be a coming of age ritual.
The second of the plays dealt with two childlike friends who are visited daily by the ominous Tax Man, who collects money from them. The Tax Man shocks them by saying that from now on the two friends will pay taxes according to their respective weights. The same man also visits them under the guise of the “Icecream Man”, who gives them free ice cream. Throughout this play, the two friends struggle to make sense of the events in their life, and the emotions they are feeling, all while the Tax Man lurks ominously in the background.
The third and final play featured a young pair of friends, struggling to adapt to a world that does not have room for them and their dreams. The main villain in this play appears to at first be the oppressive soldiers that guard their world, but in the end is revealed to be apathy, an addictive drug that leaves the user unable to recall the things they once thought were important. Ultimately, the allure of this drug proves too strong, and one member of the duo succumbs to its temptation, leaving the other alone. This play was unique in that it directly engaged the audience, as the characters repeatedly asked why the audience was there, and seemed to be aware of them. Similarly, the man selling the “apathy” drug walked among the audience, asking them if they would like a dose of the drug as well.
It was a fascinating experience to see how these playwrights and actors wrapped up their stories in such a short span of time, as well as seeing the decisions on how they used their limited time to capture the audience’s attention. Each story was original and thought-provoking, and it was a pleasure to see how each play, written by a Whitman student, came to life on the stage. The One Act Plays is a unique event that should not be missed.