Last night I went to the opening of New Voices 2009, a festival of student written and directed short plays currently being held at Muhlenberg College.
Five one-act plays were scheduled to run from 8pm to 11pm in the intimate Studio Theatre of the Trexler Pavilion. Unfortunately I wasn't feeling very well, so I only caught the first three plays, each of which appealed to me in a different way (kind of like a three-course meal).
The acting of the first play, "Sweet Sulfur," made it a real pleasure to watch. I went on a journey with young Cornelia through the highs and lows of adolescence including her first love, sibling rivalry and chess lessons. Although not a new story, it was the impish puppet master Devil character, brilliantly played by Gabe Procaccino, that brought this play to life for me.
The story of the second play, "Truth or Love," won my heart. Writer Hannah Mesouani addressed issues of homophobia, misogyny and corruption through the story of two female lovers in Islamic Morocco (I love when taboo issues are touched upon in art). The acting didn't really draw me in to "Truth or Love" the way it did in "Sweet Sulfur," but the story and how it was so beautifully well-written made it my absolute favorite play of the night.
It's been nearly 18 hours, and I'm still not exactly sure what was going on in the last play I saw, which was "Ouroboros" by Zach Trebino. I've never been big on philosophy or other kinds of really deep thinking, which could be why I didn't get it. I think one of the characters was supposed to be schizophrenic, which also made it a bit challenging to follow. But I did learn how the folks at Disney came up with a princess who talked to mice (e.g., Cinderella)!
I'm sorry I missed the other plays, especially "Ouch, That Hurts," a comedy glorifying boys being boys in the U.S. Army, - so if you happen to head over to Muhlenberg for New Voices 2009 before it ends on October 11, I'd love to hear what you thought of them.