The Tusculum College English Department and Acts, Arts, Academia will present the return of the “5×10” showcase during the annual Old Oak Festival at Tusculum College this weekend and April 24-26.
The show consists of five original, 10-minute plays written by Tusculum College students under the direction of Wayne Thomas, interim dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and associate professor of English; Frank Mengel, Arts Outreach technical director and instructor of theatre, and Brian Ricker, assistant to the director of Arts Outreach.
The production will run for six performances in the David Behan Arena Theatre in the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts building on the Tusculum campus in Greeneville. The production will be staged at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, April 17-18 and 24-25 2 p.m. on Sundays, April 19 and 26.
The plays, which were written during Thomas’ Scriptwriting class during the fall 2014 semester, are varied in subject matter and are as distinct and unique from each other as the playwrights themselves. “I think folks will enjoy the work. This marks ten student playwrights that we’ve produced in the last couple of years. What a fantastic opportunity,” said Thomas.
With a wide range of themes including challenges of faith, mental disorders, and the repercussions of a decidedly flawed penal system, the plays range in genre from light comedy to heavy drama. Audiences are cautioned when considering bringing children to the production due to adult themes and strong language. The show is recommended for ages 13 and up, with parental guidance strongly advised.
The five plays to be featured are:
- “Plush” written by Zach Gass, a sophomore from Greeneville, Tennessee, which centers on two plush toys, Milo and Toby, who are cast aside in an attic, and must deal with feelings of abandonment, challenges of faith, and maintaining optimism for an uncertain future.
- “Copper” written by Hannah Berling a junior from Middletown, Ohio, is a comedy about the advances of a somewhat desperate young man, JT, as he tries to woo a young woman, Kendall, while the two wait in a dentist office waiting room, and the amusing repercussions of being deceitful while trying to attract the opposite sex.
- “Puddle Jumping” written by Sarah Holly and Tyler Jinks, juniors from Johnson City and Rogersville, Tennessee respectively, is a darker comedy focusing on the relationship between a young child, Jackson, and an egocentric pet goldfish, Puddles, who wishes for nothing more than a life away from his owner. However, the two must work in harmony in order to save Puddles from being flushed down the toilet by Jackson’s over-worked and demanding mother, Molly.
- “Save Me” written by Joshua Fuller a sophomore from Alabaster, Alabama, highlights the struggles faced by individuals with mental disorders. Bill, a young man is trying to apply for a job, but must deal with the constant disruption of his mentally induced hallucinations during an interview.
- “Psy-cho-ther-apy in Yazoo County, Mississippi” written by Jennifer Frost a sophomore from Friendsville, Tennessee, is about a convict who escapes prison and takes a therapist hostage in an attempt to work through the many emotional and mental problems brought on by life, crime, and a flawed penal system.
Bringing the student works to life will be a cast consisting of current Tusculum College students, Tusculum College Alumni, and veteran community actors. Also, with production assistance from the familiar Arts Outreach team of Costume Director, Barbara Holt, Arts Outreach Director and Artist-in-Residence, Marilyn duBrisk, and Arts Outreach Coordinator, Jennifer Hollowell.
The idea behind the “5×10” production was originally conceived a few years ago by Thomas when he was chair of the Fine Arts Department, in an effort to “promote interdisciplinary co-curricular engagement amongst various fine arts entities.”
With the help of Mengel, the first “5×10” production premiered during the 2013 Old Oak Festival. According to Thomas, producing the showcase during the festival “seemed like a natural fit. [The Festival] is all about Fine Arts, so it seemed like a neat way to showcase our writing and theatre programs all at once.”
Tickets are $6 general admission and can be purchased at the box office which opens one hour prior to show time or reserved by contacting Arts Outreach at 423-798-1620, or by e-mail at email@example.com. Tickets may be purchased with cash or check only, no credit or debit cards.