Playwrights at Different Stages on the Same Stage

One Act Attack is back for a second year of new one-act plays, and the playwrights represented this year range from the revered senior fellow James Reaney, to Jayson McDonald and Caitlin Murphy, both established playwrights who emerged in the past ten years, to rookie playwright Kent Miersma. All four have plays running at The Arts Project this week under the title One Act Attack II.

Jayson McDonald’s contribution, The Great Disconnect, sounds pretty exciting. At Super Mario II High School, students are so plugged into their electronic gadgets that their minds are being sucked into cyber-space en masse. The hero is attempting to save them by building a huge electronic ray-gun that will destroy all personal electronic devices.

A fable for our times, directed by Dan Roberson.

Caitlin Murphy has just finished her term as Playwright in Residence at the Grand, and her play in One Act Attack is about the romantic life of a fourteen-year-old girl. She realizes for the first time that it’s not always easy to keep old friends and a new boyfriend all happy. It’s called Boy Oh Boy, and it even has songs and dancing set to 50s doo-wop tunes. It’s directed by Laurie Facey.

The James Reaney piece is not based on new writing, but rather on a new assembly of some of his performance poems. Mr. Reaney has been interested in performance poetry since 1960, when he turned what was to be a poetry recital into a solo one-act play called One-man Masque. This will be a rare chance to see some Reaney performance poetry, including "The Art of Swearing", "Songs of War and Peace", "Souwesto Anthem", "Pigeon Necks", and others, all strung together to follow the passage of the seasons over an entire year. The piece is simply called Performance Poems, and it is directed by Jason Rip, the co-ordinator of the TheatreWORKS program that is behind One Act Attack.

TheatreWORKS is a federal government-sponsored program run by The Arts Project. This year ten people aged between 15 and 30 were selected from 80 applicants to work in theatre for six months, learning about acting, directing, designing and writing for the theatre.

The fourth play in One Act Attack was written and directed by one of the TheatreWORKS participants, Kent Miersma. Phlabeta uses comedic and dramatic sketches to portray people from all walks of life struggling with issues of literacy. Many of the scenes came out of workshop sessions that included all of the other TheatreWORKS participants – Amelia Does, Ian Carroll, Matt Smith, Jennifer Forgie, Tara Frostad, Dan Roberson, Rhonda Lucy, Laurie Facey and Andrew Maize.

Only two shows will be seen per night this year. The Great Disconnect and Performance Poems play on March 2nd, while Boy Oh Boy and Phlabeta play March 1st and 3rd. All shows are at 8 pm.

The inaugural version of One Act Attack last year was really fun and successful, and this year’s show looks just as promising.