Annual one-act performances feature grim reapers, sci-fi, family reunions

As the Rensselaer Players’ annual Evening of Performance steadily approaches, the Players are cracking down to put together what is to be an exciting and fun-filled event. Fortunately for me, they had time in their busy schedule to let me preview their performances.

Evening of Performance is a series of three one-act plays, with poetry readings by literary group Comma and improv games by the best and only improv group, Sheer Idiocy, scattered in between each play. The RPI Clarinet Choir is performing a pre-show on the 21st, and male a cappella group Duly Noted will be performing on the 27th before the show and during intermission.

The first of the three plays entitled “Plots” directed by Hannah de los Santos ’16 is three little vignettes silently displayed by a grim reaper. While each plot has nothing to do with the other, each holds the interest of the audience. The first plot is the story of a woman on a blind date, the second of a couple battling the wife’s fear of being buried alive, and the last of three survivors in a life raft. Throughout each plot, a coffin-like object is always present, serving as a multitude of props including an actual coffin. These vignettes discuss mortality, shallowness, and how much an individual is willing to go to survive.

“Waiting for Twist Stiffly” directed by Micaila Dean ’16 and assistant directed by Kyle Johnson ’16 is a much more lighthearted play, centering on the story of three discouraged television stars on an intergalactic sci-fi show. Quirky and carefree, the villain, the damsel in distress, and the sidekick team up with the director’s assistant to create a new show while they wait for the hero to show up. With well-executed lines and choreography, “Waiting for Twist Stiffly” explores the archetypal characters in the storytelling of years past and whether or not a change is in order.

The last piece and my personal favorite of the night, “Jimmy the Antichrist,” directed by Jeremy Feldman ’16, follows a charming family reunion. This touching story teaches acceptance and what really matters when it comes to family all the while providing uproarious and humorous entertainment.

Producer Katie Saporita ’17 and assistant producer Zach Spurrier ’19 have been working together with the cast and crew since November to bring this production to life. Hours of building sets, testing tech equipment, and months of memorizing lines were put into these performances. “It’s one of our shows that we do to get more people involved,” says Saporita. “There are three shows, three sets of directing teams, lots of tech going on. We like to put new people in to give them a shot—to see how they do…This is a good opportunity for new people to learn the ropes.”

The dates of the Evening of Performance are the 19th and 20th at 8 pm, the 21st at 2 pm, and the 26th and 27th at 8 pm. I highly encourage attending.