Project Spotlight, the only student-run theater development organization at UCF, performed its biannual one-act festival this past weekend.

Four one-act plays, which are usually between 30 and 50 minutes in length, were presented as part of the festival, which ran from April 21 to April 24 at the Theatre UCF main stage. Jon-Paul Schaut, head producer of Project Spotlight, said the plays are written, directed, produced, managed and acted by students.

Hate, written by Alexander Hehr and directed by Brett MacKinnon, followed Christian (Douglas Jensen) through his struggles with relationships and emotions, and examined how the language people use often affects their perceptions of people and events.

“I wanted to delve into why people don’t talk to each other and why people don’t actually communicate, and it all comes down to the words we use,” Hehr said at a talkback after the April 22 performance of his show. “I focused on the word ‘hate’ and how it’s the exact opposite of the word ‘love,’ but they’re both used in very synonymous ways.”

Her Darlings, written by Colin Brooks and directed by Jeannie Matthews, told the story of Tommy (Eric Spicker) visiting his quirky Grandma Warren (Sean Dunphy). Tensions arose between Tommy and his grandfather, and the presence of Tommy’s fiancé Tanya (Carmen Castillo) only added to the drama.

“The biggest challenge [with Her Darlings] was probably … balancing all the big characters that we have,” Matthews said.

The Force of Gravity, written by Sarah Schreck and directed by Tommy Heller, and Waiting, written by Matt Ubl and directed by Elizabeth Calvert, were performed on April 21 and 23.

Circumstances, a 10-minute play written by Laura Manitta and directed by Nicholas Marino, was also performed twice as part of the festival. Project Spotlight originally meant for the show to be performed as part of last year’s 10-minute play competition.

In addition to its one-act festival, Project Spotlight puts on a 10-minute play competition every year during several student-written plays are presented in one night and given awards for best director and best play.

Play submissions for the 10-minute competition and for the fall one-act festival are open to all UCF students and are due July 15.


Alex Storer is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.

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