Audiences attending Allen County Community College’s Student-Directed One Acts are certain to ride an emotional roller coaster over the next three nights.
There will be frequent points of laughter — wedding receptions that quickly veer off course are an obvious source of a few chuckles — while others will dwell deeper into the human soul, looking at religion, terminal disease and a young teen’s angst.
The evening starts with “If I Could Paint The Rain,” by Rosary Hartel O’Neill.
In it, Brandon Eckley portrays Rooster Dubonnet, a French artist coming to grips with his last days fighting cancer.
The end is near. He knows this.
He also wants clearly to be left alone, and not be pestered by a new nurse, portrayed by Janice Wiese
Rooster resorts to a number of schemes to rid himself of his new nurse — setting off a fire alarm, for example.
Nurse Falcon isn’t the type to give in. But can she connect with him in time?
Under the guidance of director Debra Marie Francis, Eckley shines as the play’s protagonist. His every movement is tortured, yet he still musters enough strength to aggravate the young nurse.
Likewise, Wiese is more than capable of standing up to Dubonnet’s pranks — and more importantly, isn’t the type to abandon a patient in need.
THE EVENING takes a decidedly lighter theme in the second skit “Holy Matrimony,” an original piece penned by Mack Melvin, Desiree Mason and Jessica Truitt and directed by Melvin.
The toasts have just been delivered following a happy couple’s wedding, when it becomes evident that perhaps this is not the perfect match between bride, Sabra Aguirre, and groom, Jon Eddy.
Tyler Plunkett and Haley Ellis are the best man and maid of honor, respectively, whose toasts reveal their true feelings for the “happy” couple. Isiah Smith is a groomsman who has eyes of his own on the bride (but are they returned?) while Shelby Cruz is a bridesmaid who has feelings of her own about being denied a shot at delivering a toast.
Wiese and Amber Wiederholt, meanwhile, offer cameo appearances as wedding guests.
The most memorable characters, undoubtedly, will be Mason and Truitt, as Grandmas Ruth and Ruby, a pair of hard-partying geriatrics, frequently spotted taking a swig from a bottle of beer or Jack Daniels whiskey. Neither is afraid to spout her opinions about life or flirt with one of the male subjects in particular.
They play a key role in the play’s climactic scene.
THE SECOND original piece, “Only Skin Deep,” was written and directed by Savannah Haner.
Katarina McIntosh portrays Sandy, a young woman with a propensity to cut herself. Sandy’s sessions with a therapist to discuss this disorder do not go smoothly.
Sandy clearly wants nothing to do with her new therapist, portrayed by Amber Wiederholt, and lashes out frequently at Wiederholt’s Dr. Smith.
McIntosh is brilliant as the troubled teen, certain that she’s met another adult who does not understand her emotional state.
Wiederholt wields some impressive acting chops of her own. Her character isn’t the type to give up. She tries alternative methods, such as removing her office furniture or letting her patients ask the questions during one therapy session, in the hopes of connecting with McIntosh.