Students run the show in latest “Brave New Plays”

Published by adviser, Author: Rebecca Marcucci - Rocket Contributor, Date: April 20, 2012
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“Brave New Plays is going to be sweet,” a lollipop handed out to students in the dining halls assured. The students passing out the candy also revealed that the treats hinted toward a certain element that will be seen in the show.

“Brave New Plays,” an event held yearly during the Slippery Rock Kaleidoscope Arts Festival, is a series of student written, produced, directed and performed plays.

Junior English literature major, and playwright and actor in this year’s “Brave New Plays” Jon Luther David, 20, said he enjoys diving into two key elements in the theater process, writing and acting.

“I always like to tell a story in interesting ways without saying what’s going on,” David said.

David wrote two plays for this year’s event. His first, “Battlefield Blues,” is a somewhat comedic monologue, he said.

“The play opens with a guy setting up a table of army men,” he said. “After recently divorcing his wife he has created an army of green soldiers against an army of brown soldiers led by a Barbie doll.”

“Broken Hearts and Bourbon,” also written by David, is a silent play.

“One guy is trying to get his wife back after she cheats on him,” David said. “It’s set up like a silent film with old music playing in the background.”

This has been David’s third time participating with “Brave New Plays,” and he said he has enjoyed performing the scripts others have written.

“During the first tech practice I got to watch all of the plays performed on stage,” David said. “They made me laugh and gave me chills.”

“The Bench and Raw,” two plays David will be performing in, are two among many that offered interesting perspectives to this year’s production, he said.

“I play the businessman in ‘The Bench,’” David said. “It is a ten minute play about one guy’s bad day because his tires got slashed and then it all unfolds from there.”

David said his character, Andrew, in “The Bench and Raw” is persuaded to reinvent his past by a random stranger. This however, causes problems for his character’s current girlfriend, he said.

David said the best way for others to find out about “Brave New Plays” is simply by word of mouth and by bringing along a friend.

“These are people that students know who are producing and performing these shows. Give them some credit,” David said.

David said there are many ways the audience can get involved in the performances they will be watching.

“The stage is three feet away from the audience,” he said. “I won’t give anything away, but if you want to get involved with the performances, sit in the front row.”

Freshman theater and communications major, and production stage manager for “Brave New Plays” Samantha Kuchta, 19, said helping to manage “Brave New Plays” has been a whole other experience.

“I was assistant stage manager for ‘Strawberries’ in January and ‘The Merchant of Venice,’” Kuchta said. “But working with ‘Brave New Plays’ is fun and different, since no two plays are alike and the plots are constantly changing.”

Kuchta said that the behind the scenes work with production and rehearsal has been constantly moving and shaping up.

“Twelve sets of rehearsal are held all at once,” Kuchta said. “Each show has a different directing style, too. I think it’s going to be a really good show and a great part of the Kaleidoscope festival.”

Sophomore arts administration and philosophy major Aaron Mild, 20, said he was excited that his script was chosen for “Brave New Plays.”

“I revised my play a lot while just watching rehearsals,” Mild said. “I based revisions off of the characters’ styles and delivery.”

Mild said he expected some hectic rehearsals with so many actors and directors, but he said things have come together very well.

“I am anxious to see the audience reactions,” Mild said. “I expect them to laugh at situations they never thought they’d laugh at before, and I should also warn that viewer discretion is heavily advised.”

Opening night for “Brave New Plays” is tonight at 7:30 p.m., with “Acts of Contrition” and “Raw” also on Sunday at 2:00 p.m., and Tuesday, April 24, at 7:30 p.m.

The student-written 10-minute plays will open April 22 through April 26 at 7:30 p.m.

An opportunity for audiences to comment and ask questions will also be held Friday evening after the performance.

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