Marissa Del Vecchio is a theater performance major in her third year, directing some of the short plays in the Niagara University theater.
“At the end of sophomore year, we get this email right before we go on summer break from our professor for the directing class Doug Zschiegner. He gives us the criteria, two plays, first choice and second choice, about roughly ten minute plays,” she said.
The students research and find the plays they would like to perform, but they have to get them approved by the department first. The students have a lot of leeway with what plays they want to act out. In her experience it took her a long time to find a play she really liked. Del Vecchio also gave some insight on how close they really are. “As a director, you have to kind of be their support system,” she said. “To create a space that’s safe to explore different realms and different choices that you can make in acting. You have to know the script better than anyone and to know what the characters want.”
Below are reviews of five of the eight plays that were acted out that night:
“The Wedding Story” by Julianne Homokay, was phenomenal. The twist it turned into from being that stereotypical romance short story, into an entertaining, funny plot twist of a children’s fairy tale. The students did a great job of picking this play for their personalities, they worked themselves into the characters, making it seem like they were their characters. The way the story developed to have a “real world” story telling was a surprising twist the audience wasn’t expecting. The audience couldn’t have applauded louder.
In “Untitled #2” by Jim Gordon, the audience could feel the emotion that the actresses put into their parts. They worked their person into the new character on stage with every line that they had practiced for so long.
In “Favors” by Julianne Homokay, the audience was completely caught off guard at the turn it took. The actress really made the audience hate her character, Pennie, and how she was treating her friend Alison. If you are pressuring someone into something when they don’t want to do it, that’s not a favor – that is harassment. This play was really well scripted and was performed wonderfully. Alison is the change we need to see in the coming months of 2018.
In “Knots” by Lisa Soland, the audience might have found the younger versions of themselves on stage, struggling with what to say in response to your first “I love you.” The audience can watch this and relate back to one of their first relationships, as well. It was incredible to see the performers on stage simply just freeze in place when it was the narrators turn to speak. The narrator was funny and charming, making the audience chuckle and laugh out loud at her comments of her past.
“Ferris Wheel” by Mary Miller warmed the hearts of the audience as the play unfolded. The audience was simply reminded how quickly someone can fall in love, just by experiencing the same situation with someone.