Does anyone smell smoke? 

Charlotters star in biannual CVU one act plays

By Madison Hakey | The Charlotte News

A night of fire, romance, birth, and theater rehearsal ended with two deaths this past weekend at CVU. Don’t worry, though, the deaths were simply part of the final one-act play.

Every other spring, CVU’s theater program director, Candi Padula, gives four student-directors a play and 30 minutes to work with it, then lets them loose with a group of actors. One-acts help to include everyone, shy or not, as they require less of a time commitment from actors and directors.

After a successful production in 2014, Padula decided to make this a biannual fixture at CVU.  In case you didn’t make it to this year’s production, The Charlotte News has the highlights for you.

“The Final Dress Rehearsal” directed by Bridget Kerr of Shelburne

Final dressThe first one-act centered on Charlotters Sabrina Davis and Simone Edgar-Holmes. Davis played the director of Cinderella, which had been rewritten by a college friend, and Edgar-Holmes was her stage manager. As the crew worked together in an attempt to rehearse for the last time before the play’s premiere, the author of the play watches in horror—the actors don’t know their lines, the set isn’t ready, and the premiere is sure to be a failure. The situation quickly turns into any director’s worst nightmare.

When the author of the play first enters, he sweeps across the stage and begins orating to the audience. The entire cast begins to roll their eyes and sigh heavily, clearly exasperated. As he carries on, the audience laughs at the complete disregard of the cast behind him. Kerr says, “No one in the show wants to listen to what the author has to say, so everyone is just tolerating him.”

As the real director, Kerr let the actors do what naturally came to them, giving the show a very fluid feel. “I walked into rehearsal every day without a single note in my script,” Kerr says. She asked the actors simply to do what they thought their character might do in that situation. This technique helped the actors and audience feel the emotion of the play.

“The Still Alarm” directed by Mishka Rehak of Williston

still alarmAfter a fire starts in their hotel, the two main characters in this play simply discuss the inconvenience it has caused them. One of the pair, Bob, remarks that his mail is already being sent to this hotel, and if he moves to another hotel it will only wreak havoc. His friend, Ed, after lighting a cigarette from the fire just outside their window, puts his feet up and relaxes. When the fire fighters arrive, Ed and Bob listen to one of the firemen play a violin and slowly die.

The play had the crowd laughing from beginning to end, thanks to the wonderful actors and their director, Mishka Rehak, who has been acting since the beginning of middle school. This experience helped her to become better in auditions because she now understands how directors pick parts. “We cast more based on who fit the part best and not who was better than another person,” she says.

Baby bunch“Baby” directed by Anna Cataldo of Shelburne

Ever wonder what a baby is trying to tell you? This one-act looked into the psyche of an infant and how adults act around him in such peculiar ways. The crowd was hysterical as the infant complains about his parents pulling at his cheeks and bottom, naming him “Baby” and attempting to teach him extremely long words that will make him sound smart. Baby’s personal coach explains to him that vomiting, biting and screaming are all ways to get back at these crazy adults. Leo Garbose, a senior from Charlotte, stole the show as the grandma. “[Cataldo] knew I would be comfortable with wearing a dress and high heels and covering my face in powder,” Garbose says. He also praised Cataldo’s directing style. “Anna was very relaxed,” he says. “She knew that she was working with people who took it seriously. So she directed us but also let us express ourselves.”

“The Loveliest Afternoon of the Year” directed by Meg Young of Charlotte

loveliest aThe final one-act wrapped up the entire production with a bang. Literally. It followed the love story of a couple who meet every Sunday for a walk through the park, until one day when the man’s wife shows up. She turns out to be an ugly, angry woman who keeps a gun hidden in the baby carriage.

The actors did an incredible job developing the relationship between the two lovebirds before the man’s jealous wife causes them both an untimely death. Young, like most of the other directors, said the best part of the one-acts was gaining a different perspective on a theatrical production. “It was a very different experience [from acting], but I liked seeing both sides a lot,” she says.