Spring One-Act Festival showcases student theatre work

Withycombe Hall is the home of OSU’s Lab Theatre, where the Spring One-Act Festival is held every year.

Tristan Bailey, Practicum Contributor

Festival serves as escape for students from school.

For more than a decade, the Lab Theatre at Withycombe Hall has hosted the Spring OneAct Festival, an annual event that consists of six student-directed, -designed and -acted one-act shows.

Elizabeth Helman, the theatre arts area coordinator and instructor, acts ostensibly as the festival’s producer, offering assistance and advice to students when needed.

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“I’ve been the faculty advisor for this event for about nine years now,” Helman said. “I sit in on rehearsals, mentor the students through the process and basically just make sure that the festival itself goes smoothly.”

The students in Helman’s Theatre Arts (TA) 454, Advanced Play Direction, are directing the shows in this year’s Spring One-Act Festival.

“This is honestly my favorite event that we do all year,” Helman said. “It has a lot of energy, a lot of interesting perspectives and it’s just a really fun event.”

During the course of the rehearsal process, Amy Stein, a fourth-year theatre arts minor and “The Spotted Man” director, has worked closely with the actors she cast to ensure a collaborative experience.

“I take ideas from the actors and the designers to create the vision,” Stein said. “Everybody can weigh in and we all work together to create the show.”

Choosing a play that had creative flexibility was very important to Stein.

“I read around twenty plays, and then I got it down to my top five and then I chose one,” Stein said. “I picked something that I felt I could do a lot with—something that had ideas within the script, but that I could add more to.”

The Spring One-Act Festival is a favorite event amongst university students, Stein said.

“(The festival) gives everybody a break from life. People can forget the outside world for two hours while they see the show,” Stein said. “It takes people’s minds off of finals for a while and it can make them feel better.”

The Spring One-Act Festival is a common way for students to get involved with participating in the OSU Theatre Department, said Mike Stephens, a fifth-year theatre arts major and director of “Playwriting 101.”

“The One-Act Festival my freshman year was my first role here,” Stephen said. “This is a really great way to get people involved in theatre who normally wouldn’t be.”

Brian Stewart, a freshman studying prechemical engineering, will be playing the part of The Gambler in the comedy “Clara and the Gambler.”

“I auditioned for the Spring One-Act Festival mostly because my Intro to Theater instructor, Elizabeth Helman, suggested it as a great way to start getting involved,” Stewart said in an email. “As a relative beginner in theatre, I feel like I’ve been learning a lot from both my director and my other cast member who’ve been involved in theatre far longer than me.”

The One-Act Festival is an important event for OSU and the larger Corvallis community, Stewart said.

“I feel like events like this can really bring color to a campus,” Stewart said in an email. “Having something the students and the rest of the community can do outside of school is really what makes this community feel alive.”

The Spring One-Act Festival is an annual student organized theatre event that will take place in the Lab Theatre of Withycombe Hall from May 31 to June 3.