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Theatre UCF premiers its One-Act Festival Thursday, 7 p.m.

Contributing Writer

Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012

Updated: Sunday, April 15, 2012 14:04

one act festival

Alyssa Feller / Central Florida Future

Jay Pastucha and Angelina Todd rehearse a scene from The Unwanted for the semi-annual One-Act Festival. Theatre UCF will present OAF April 12-15 at the UCF Conservatory Theatre Black Box.

Twice a year, theater students take their turn at running the show in the Theatre UCF One-Act Festival.

Students call the shots with everything from directing to producing and acting in the semi-annual One-Act Festival, affectionately nicknamed OAF. The free festival opens tonight at 7 p.m. at Theatre UCF on the main campus with performances Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Each year, officers of the student organization Project Spotlight select the pieces and the student directors. This semester’s festival will include performances of The Unwanted, House of the Holy Moment, Brutal Imagination and two UCF original pieces: Road Trip and Stingray.

The purpose of the festival is to address an educational need for students to take larger roles in the production process, in addition to the work they do with the theater department. It also serves as an opportunity for students to showcase their talents independently with little guidance from faculty.

“This is all on their own and some of these kids this will be their first venture in directing outside of directing class,” said Roger Thacher, junior theater major and president of Project Spotlight. “The main challenge is getting out of that mindset that they’re beginners and giving it their all and taking risks, of course that’s very scary whenever you’re directing for the first time.”

Both Road Trip and Stingray were written by UCF theater students Melissa Landy and Samantha Liguori, respectively. This is the second piece selected for Landy, who had an original play performed in the Fall One Act Festival.

It made perfect sense for Stingray author Liguori as a theater studies and creative writing double major to make the transition to playwright.

“It has taught me how to be a playwright and take a more observational level,” Liguori said. “With my particular piece I wasn’t involved in the rehearsal process, and I let my director just go for it full on, and it was really interesting to see the things that she created from my script and my ideas that I necessarily wouldn’t have done, but it’s amazing what she brings out of it.”

Liguori hopes audience members take away a lesson in understanding and question whether a diagnosis holds any importance to a mental disorder. The inspiration for the piece comes from her senior thesis and also personal experience with the issue.

“It’s a situation that I have witnessed and have seen other people dealing with similar situations,” Liguori said.

A year in the making, Stingray is ready to makes its debut on the UCF stage under the direction of senior musical theater major Angela Damato. Audience members might remember her from a recent performance of the Theatre UCF production of Ragtime. This marks Damato’s directorial debut at OAF.

“I was looking to direct and I wasn’t sure which one act to go ahead and direct, and then UCF theater Professor Earl Weaver came running up to me and he asked me if I wanted to direct this amazing original one act,” Damato said. “I said yes before I read the show because he was so excited about it.”

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