Western students act up in Purple Shorts
With so much hidden talent lurking beneath the surface in London, the
Purple Shorts one-act play festival is a welcome addition to
Western's arts scene.
The second annual festival starts today and runs until Friday, Jan. 31.
The idea for Purple Shorts was conceived last year by Michelle
Witen, last year's University Students' Council's Theatre Western commissioner,
as an outlet for creative Western thespians to produce their own dramatic
works for an audience.
A campus-wide call for submissions this September, by this year's Theatre Western commissioner Justin Peter Quesnelle, led to the selection of seven plays that will be performed over three nights in Conron Hall, Rm. 224 of University College.
According to third-year English and film student Sabrina Noble, the festival offers a great opportunity for Western artists.
"Purple Shorts is such a blessedly grand idea because it
is the only chance for Western students to write, direct and act all in
one festival, [and] it provides a great learning experience for people
who are interested in these disciplines."
Noble speaks from firsthand experience, as her play entitled The New
Madonna is one of this year's selections featured in the festival.
She reveals that her play is "both comical and theoretical"
and tells the story of "three women from vastly different backgrounds
and time periods united in the quest to create a language for women."
Claire McCague, a Western student in her fifth year of a PhD in chemistry,
is a returning participant to Purple Shorts. Last year, her self-penned,
self-directed play Intersection was performed to great reviews.
This year, McCague returns with a new production entitled One & Other,
which she co-directed with Diane Piccitto. One & Other is McCague's
sixth play, and is also amongst her most personal works.
"The play was inspired by a relationship that couldn't be and never was, and the passing of a friend during the summer. It was written suddenly, unexpectedly and completely in a few short days in September," McCague recalls.
Besides the satisfaction of having their work shown before an audience, playwrights such as McCague will receive another bonus at this year's festival: the opportunity to have their plays evaluated by renowned local playwright and director Jayson McDonald.
Each night, McDonald will give a public adjudication of the plays that have been shown, and will also join the cast and crew of each play for private discussions about their works.
Third-year scholar's electives student Derritt Mason co-produced last year's Purple Shorts and is producing this year's festival along with Quesnelle.
According to Mason, an adjudicator is a necessary and welcome addition to this year's festival, as a judge offers "a means of getting the playwright and the actors important feedback on their performances."
This year, the festival has also been turned into a competition, with the productions vying for prizes, including "Best Comedy" and "Most Honoured Play."
Mason said this is a way for the playwrights and actors involved to be recognized for their accomplishments.
(all shows in Conron Hall, Rm. 224, University College)
Wednesday, Jan. 29 8 p.m.
The New Madonna
by Sabrina Noble
by Natalie St. Pierre
Waiting for the LTC
by Marty Zahavich
by Jeanine Henderson
Thursday, Jan. 30 8 p.m.
by Kat Evans
One & Other
by Claire McCague
Eva in a Jar
by Daniel Noble
Friday, Jan. 31 8 p.m.
'The Best of Purple Shorts'
'Most Honoured Play'
$5 per individual evening
$8 for a festival pass
(Jan. 29 and 30)
Available at the door prior to each show,
or can be reserved by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org