Fourteen students from Eastern Kentucky University’s Honors Program will present four one-act plays in early May focusing on the modern military experience.
The students have researched, written and produced the plays this semester.
The one-acts, collectively titled “War on Two Fronts: The Military Experience at Home and Abroad,” will be presented on Thursday, May 3, at 8 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre at the rear of the EKU Center for the Arts.
The event is open to the public, and admission is free. A pre-play reception featuring posters containing the family military stories that inspired the plays will open at 7 p.m. in the lobby of the Black Box.
“These students have worked long and hard on writing, and now producing these one-acts,” said Mason Smith of the EKU Department of English and one of the two faculty members for Honors 306/307, Honors Seminar in the Arts.
Dr. Gaby Bedetti is the other faculty member leading the class.
“They’ve put an enormous amount of energy into the research and in writing the plays – as well as trying to stretch their imaginations by using non-realistic techniques for their plays,” Smith said.
To prepare for the plays, the students incorporated writing techniques from Michael Dixon’s book, “Breaking from Realism: A Map/Quest for the Next Generation.” Dixon, who retired recently from Transylvania University’s Department of Theatre, taught four workshops for the students, focusing on theatre production.
The first one-act will be “War on the Home Front,” written, directed and performed by Leslie Richie, Collin Davis and B.J. Yates. It concerns a transgender recruit who is dealing with inner and outer conflicts while signing up to join the Navy.
The second play is “Flashbacks,” written, directed, and performed by Emily Kerr, Taylor Ross, Holly Hatfield and Stephanie Kinmon. The play describes a husband waking from a night terror and his wife’s comforting story that reminds him how joyful their life is now.
The third one-act is “Life Is But a Dream,” written, directed and performed by Abby Coogan, Emily Grindstaff, Willis Gaer and Jacqui Daviet. The play follows a soldier’s widow as she remembers her times with her long-gone husband while still learning how to cope with his death.
The final one-act will be “Journey,” written, directed and performed by Nathaniel Britt, Lucy Jones and Shelby Convery. The play combines the narrative of a squad of Vietnam soldiers with scenes from Homer’s “Odyssey.”
The one-acts will be performed in an open-theatre format, with the audience standing among the players as the scenes progress. The audience will move as the players shift into new areas. Limited seating will be provided, however, for those who cannot stand for the event’s 45- to 55-minute running time.