Plays will startle, amuse

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March 4, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Allen County Community College’s offering of student-directed one-act plays presents a mix of humor and drama in five staged vignettes interspersed with brief comedic “commercial” breaks that tie one skit to another.
Two of the plays, “… And a Blueberry Muffin,” and “Commercial: The Play,” were written and directed by ACCC students.
“Muffin,” written and directed by Paige Schauf, tells the tale of a girl who thinks a cute guy is stalking her. She ducks into a bookstore and asks the owner, “Have you seen that guy who’s following me?”
Described only as a guy with “that shirt” and “hair and eyes,” the incredulous owner responds, “I might have seen him, but could you be a little more vague in your description?”
The paranoid Claire, played by Rachel Wiley, noted the guy must be stalking her, because she works in a coffee shop and he comes in every day and orders the same thing: definitely suspicious behavior.
Giving her fears credibility, the guy, played by Eli Waddles, comes into the same book store moments later.

SPOILER alert: there’s violence in these plays.
It pops up in startling places, such as in “English,” when an angst-ridden  wife questions whether her husband still loves her. Directed by Elizabeth Otto and Nachele Gonsalez, it conveys the boredom and sense of longing that has crept into the couple’s marriage.
While grease monkey Joey, played by lanky Ben Olson, stares blankly out a window in a broke-down apartment in ’Jersey, his wife Suzy offers him Dinty Moore stew and the repeated query, “Don’t you love me no more?”
To his automatic “sure I do,” Suzy snarls, “sometimes I hate that window.”
When Joey tries explaining his ennui, Suzy retorts, “You’re only worried about your own ill-defined yearnings!”
Wanting his interest to be, instead, in her, she throws question after question at him: her maiden name, her childhood dreams, her father’s mother’s maiden name.
She’s startled by his replies.

“PANCAKES” describes the gap between the haves and have nots, and the extremes to which hunger can drive someone — otherwise rational, otherwise competent — to assuage that desperate need.
Peter Morris directs his actors as iconic personality types.
Darrell Appelhanz, as Sam, stoops to cruelty in mocking his starving roommate, who, though educated, is jobless because “no one is hiring philosophy majors.”
“One day people will wake up with this big spiritual malaise and need me,” Jamarious Wicker, as Buddy, tells the business-minded Sam, who sits with stack upon stack of pancakes before him while his former friend, who has eaten nothing but saltine crumbs all week, grovels and reasons and finally sinks to unthinkable acts in order to eat.

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