Three short plays, three unique seniors


Taryn Bertini

The Festival of Short Plays is three plays directed by Carson Clark, Tanner Striegel and Allison Blades for their Theatre capstone class.

by Taryn Bertini, Staff Reporter

Three Simpson seniors in the Theatre capstone class have created three fully student-designed and directed plays for the Festival of Short Plays put on by Simpson Productions this upcoming weekend.

Seniors Carson Clark, Tanner Striegel and Allison Blades each created and directed their own short plays, which are picked based on the theme the Theatre capstone class is studying that year. 

The theme for this year’s Festival of Short Plays is Commedia dell’Arte. Blades describes the theme as, “an older Italian comedy style that was very popular from the 16th to 18th century.”

“I think comedy is something that most people enjoy, so I think people are going to be excited to experience an older style of comedy that actually really closely relates to how comedy is developed and made today,” Blades said.

Each of the seniors is directing their own short plays with “Sganarelle or the Imaginary Cuckold” being directed by Striegel, “The Virtuous Burglar” directed by Clark and “The Seductive Countess” directed by Blades. They describe the process as being fun and insightful so far while being in their respective leadership positions.

Clark explains how there is much more that goes into directing a short play than most people might perceive. “Every director has a vision of how they want the show to be, so you have to read it and you have to start thinking ‘how am I going to approach this play,’” Clark said. 

Other students involved in the production of the plays have been working alongside the seniors and doing rehearsals for the past month. Striegel explains how this is a much shorter rehearsal process compared to full-length productions they perform throughout the school year.

Many students behind the scenes focus on set designing, costume/hair and makeup design, prop designing, lighting designing and so much more. Professor of Theatre Arts and Director of Simpson Productions, Jennifer Ross Nostrala has been the main overseer of the project and has been a huge help in bringing the three seniors’ ideas to life.

“Because it’s done by students, we always have things going on, we always have somewhere else to be so it can be pretty stressful, but you gotta work with it,” Clark said.

The three senior students only had approximately four weeks as Simpson Productions presented a show at the end of March that they had to work around as well. 

Clark, Striegel and Blades are eager to present their projects to Simpson students and the community as they have put in many hours of work and rehearsals to get it just right.

“A lot of research and time and energy goes into it and with this production being completely produced and developed by Simpson students, it is really important to see and give recognition to the people who have put so much time and effort into creating what they have,” Blades said.

The three plays will run back-to-back in Blank Performing Arts Center, with performances taking place on April 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m. and April 22 at 2 p.m.