One Act Play Festival Brings the Arts to Frost Week

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Written by Caroline Elworthy

The annual Sno-Week one act play festival breathed a short, yet fierce life with three performances starting Thursday and ending Saturday evening.

The Sno-Week One-Act play festival is designed to correlate with the O-Week Festival which takes place during Orientation week, greeting fresh new University students with a passionate greeting from the theatre department. What makes these performances so special is that there are all written, directed, rehearsed and produced by students, exhibiting the raw passion and initiation which is present within U of G’s drama department.

The Drama Student Federation, a student run club at U of G presents and facilitates the Sno-Week and O-Week One Act plays every semester, striving to integrate the arts into the usual semester welcome-back which is extended to students.

 “The festival is a fun way to allow students to see their short works produced as students are often required to submit short works as part of class work. We can then host a number of them all in one night without draining the performers or audience”, says Danielle Fernandes, President of the Drama Student Federation.

“Hosting several small shows instead of one long also necessitates more people to be a part of the festival, and we are always encouraging people in and outside of the theatre program to get involved with our shows” says Fernandes.

Submissions for the festival are submitted in Mid-November and directors and cast members picked shortly after. With exams scheduled for the first week of December, this allows very little time for the cast to set a foundation of a production to return to in the New Year.

This year the Sno-Week featured the plays The Other Side of the Door By Laura Kaye, That Cant’ Be Bad by Rebecca Kelly, The Ritual by Josh Mete and Pissing the Night Away by Aaron Cadesky.

These one-act plays featured no more than three actors and covered a broad range of diverse themes.

“We try not to box the plays into themes – we are always looking for a variety of different shows so we can create a well-rounded and diverse festival, yet sometimes the plays we receive seem to have common themes,” says Fernandes.

This year, the one-act plays all seemed to bring into question the underside of humanity, leading the audience into intimate scenes of domestic violence, alcoholism, prostitution and the  more comedic  topic of the nightly routine of peeing before bed.

Shauna Thompson and Cameron Menzies starred in The Other Side of the Door by Laura Kaye, a fictional work which explores the motives and personal background of a young prostitute who felt forced into the career choice in order to pay for education. Thompson and Menzies delivered a confident performance, expertly taking a sensitive topic of our society and adopting it into their own unique style.

Pissing the Night Away by Aaron Cadesky was a humours dark comedy acted by Ashton Maini and Leah O'Neill which explored the various comfort, frustration, loneliness and humour within the domestic marriage. This production was well excuted by O’Neill and Maini  and provided the festival with a sense of comedic relief found within everyday routines.

That Can't Be Bad by Rebecca Kelly and directed by Sarah Bannister delved deep into the world of domestic violence, portraying Aislynn Curran as a battered women within an abusive relationship with her husband Duncan Gibson-Lochart. Alicia Doane also acted brilliantly within this production, which brought light upon a subject which is all too often swept under the carpet and ignored.

Lastly, the production of "The Ritual" by Josh Mete was directed by Carole Crichton and starred Pahlav Bharucha, William Wellington, and Ashley Healy. This quirky, well- rehearsed comedy brought a light-hearted sense of optimism to the ending of the festival.

The dark comedy and intense dramatic portrayal of the human spirit, intergrated with humourous snippets of comedy which the various one-act plays exhibited, exemplified the determined passion of theatre department on campus.

Although these productions were amateur performances written and produced by aspiring professionals they represent so much more. The Sno-Week Festival was evidence of students within our community attempting to process and understand important issues within society, and share their thoughts with their fellow students.

Creating a work of art and then presenting it for critique whether it be art, drama or music requires a heaping amount of courage and passion. To harbour something creative and then send it out into the cold harsh world for validation, praise and criticism is a difficult feat, one that many professionals take years trying to perfect.

Seeing live theatre is an experience that cannot be replaced by large screen stimulation. The raw passion and life that performers exhibit holds something special that one cannot be received by sitting within a movie theatre. The Sno-Week and O-Weel Festival looks to continue tio value and practice the art of performance within our University community.

The Drama Students Federation runs the O-Week Festival and Sno-Week Festival at the beginning of each semester. Anyone is encouraged to write a play on any topic and submit- the opportunity to have your original work produced and preformed awaits those who are successful. 

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