Abbey Players Present One-Act Plays

February 2, 2018

By Brayden Rollins '21

On Thursday, February 1, the Anselmian Abbey Players will present their annual One-Act Play Festival in the Koonz Theatre of The Dana Center for the Humanities. This collection of innovative works will continue the players’ tradition of presenting one-act, experimental plays directed and performed by students. Performances will be held throughout the weekend on February 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Since 1983, the One-Act Play Festival provides students with the opportunity to create original productions and see their vision come alive on stage. This year, three one-act plays will be directed by three different Saint Anselm students, with two of the three plays written by the students as well.

Computer science with mathematics major Allison “Ally” MacDonald ’18 directs 4 A.M., a one-act script originally by playwright Jonathan Dorf. In this dramatic comedy, the audience is introduced to the “magic hour”: 4 A.M. While the world sleeps soundly, a select few find themselves awake during this peculiar time. Among these night owls and early birds, we meet an enthusiastic radio DJ, a troubled soul writing a most interesting letter, a modern-day Romeo and Juliet, and many more teen characters who all happen to be wide awake. Together, they ponder: Why are we here? Are the monsters under the bed real? Is there anybody out there?

Ever feel like there’s a lot going on in your head? This one-act exemplifies that feeling and more. Maria’s Mind, written and directed by criminal justice major Jake Miller ’18, is a comedy that follows high school junior Maria Summers as she goes through her daily routine. While she makes it look easy, the thoughts in her mind aren’t as simple. Should she live her life with poise and intelligence, or with passion and creativity? As we follow her story, Maria’s brain helps her handle a melodramatic psychology professor, a distant yet curious acquaintance, and every teenager’s dream of getting a job in retail.

Finally, A Priest of the People is a dark comedy that explores the complexity of public memory and the crises of faith, written and directed by politics major Brendan Mahoney ’18. When Father Andrew, the long-serving and much beloved pastor of Saint John Vianney Parish passes away suddenly, the newly ordained Father Leo must take up his mantle. Father Leo soon learns that Father Andrew may not have been the man he thought. Throughout a series of bizarre and heartbreaking conversations with parishioners, including a prickly estate attorney, her flirtatious client, some overzealous funeral directors, and an endearingly strange young man, Father Leo learns the ugly and self-serving truth about his predecessor and his parish.

“Directing this show has been an incredible experience,” says MacDonald. “Over the last few weeks of rehearsing, my cast has really bonded. My favorite part as a director is seeing how the strong message of my show has also impacted each individual cast member in different ways.”

Thirty-five students are participating, both behind-the-scenes and on-the-stage from directors, producers, and board members to the tech crew and actors. Students have been rehearsing since November.

English professor and Abbey Players advisor Landis Magnuson highlighted the original one-acts (written by Miller and Mahoney) as well as the status of the student-directors: “It is very nice to have two original one-acts presented. Equally important is to see three seniors as the directors.”

Tickets for the One-Act Play Festival at Saint Anselm College may be purchased on-campus at the Dana Center or online. Tickets for Saint Anselm students are $6, faculty, staff, alumni, seniors, and youth are $8, and adult reserved seating is $9.