Wondrous One-Acts

A Review of UCM’s One-Act Showcase

Written by Libby East, Features Editor

The University of Central Missouri theatre and dance kicked off their 2022 fall season with a performance of four short one-act plays in the Nickerson Blackbox on Sept. 15. Each performance had a run time of about 20 minutes and was absolutely star-studded with talent.  

  The evening began with a comedic noir style detective skit, centering around the death of Julius Caesar. The show, appropriately titled “Don’t Get Blood On My Toga” was directed by senior Riley Given. The show opens and we are introduced to the gaudy roman Flavious Maximus, played by junior Jared Dosch. Shortly after this, audience members have the delight to meet the eccentric character of Brutus, played by Thomas Clark, as he literally bursts through the door. The rest of this comedy follows the two as they try to discover the truth behind Caesar’s untimely death, with Brutus tying up his loose ends along the way. Honorable mentions within this cast also include junior Shanna Sinow and her portrayal of the distraught and inconsolable Calpurnia as well as senior Luke Habjan as he adds more comedic flair to this already masterpiece of a show. 

  After a quick scene change, lights open on “The Tale of Two Spectators”, directed by senior Seth Sneary, where junior Makenzie Lewis, is seen sitting on a park bench, awaiting the arrival of her co-star, freshman Max Brennan. The story behind these two’s history quickly becomes revealed as they both stalk their spouses mid-affair. The catch? The two’s spouses are cheating on them with each other. These actors both possess excellent character work, forming completely separate personas which make for great chemistry on stage. Throughout this show there is an underlying sense of heartbreak as immediately after swapping their spying tools – opera glasses – they both continually give rants about their lives, their happiness and their overall situation. Lewis’s monologue near the end of the story is one that really hits hard as her character discovers that her husband bought this other woman a beautiful ring, something she was never given. By the end of the show, two entirely different reactions to heartbreaks are revealed with Brennan’s character wanting to confront his wife and Lewis’s character wanting to change herself to better fit her husband’s dream woman. With a somber “see you next week”, it’s clear that neither truly intend to act. 

  In “500/501”, directed by senior Kierra Kellum. The story follows two pigs, Mary Gladbach and freshman Paige Showen, as they live their lives in the sti, contemplating life and what lies beyond the big walls. As the tale progresses, the once bubbly Showen slowly morphs into something more somber, this transformation only being more pronounced after Gladbach’s character is taken to the “green place”. The writer of this piece only adds insult to injury when relating to the weight of this ending as Gladbach returns only to be a younger bubbly pig, excited by the new surroundings and giddy to meet her new sti-mate. 

  The night ended with a bang with the performance of “Bake Off!”, directed by senior Katie Harmon. This story started relatively slowly, leading up to an explosion of emotion on behalf of freshman Reagan Weber as her competitor, played by freshman Ryan Verheek, cowers behind the oven. Weber’s character gives a lengthy and passionate speech about the gender norms throughout history, her voice catching in her throat in one of the most believable freakouts ever seen on stage. These two actors, only freshman, both deliver excellent performances and patrons of UCM theatre should be excited to see just what these actors do next.