The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Directing falls in the hands of students

Ingredients: One unique student-written play. One student director, with experience. Stir in a few talented student actors and actresses here and there. Mix well.

Multiply this recipe by two, and you get the Student Directed One Act Plays to be performed at 7 tonight and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Village Theatre.

These two original performances are “The Murderest Mystery of Them All,” written by Garin T. Jones and “Cast Spell,” written by Geralyn Horton.

Bailey Murphy, a senior English and theater arts major, is the director of Jones’ play, “The Murderest Mystery of Them All.”

Jones, who graduated from Eastern last year, found out his play was chosen at the end of last year.

“Writing is a pretty big hobby of mine,” he said. “I write mostly scripts for my own amusement.”

Jones said his play is about four initial strangers, who meet upon arriving at an old house.

“This play is entirely based on making fun of the other murder mysteries,” he said.

He went on to say that his play is similar to a Gravitron ride at an amusement park. “(Just) because you’re stuck to the wall, the kid next to you just puked all over himself, there’s awful ’90s music playing so loud that your brain is crying and the guy in the center keeps yelling at you to scream louder,” Jones said.

Sophomore theater arts major Caitlin Carroll plays a flirtatious housewife in Jones’ play. Carroll said although her character is strong and likes to take control, she also has an annoying side.

“My character is unique because she stands out from the second she walks on stage,” she said.

Brian Aycock, senior theater arts major, also has a part in this play.

“I play Lucius, a cocky writer trying to write a murder mystery to end all murder mysteries,” he said.

Aycock said the play has not given him much stress because he enjoys the storyline and working with the people involved.

“When this play is over, I’m really going to miss the cast,” Aycock said. “This is a cast of people I know really well and like working with, and it’s not often you get the opportunity to work with a cast and a director that you really like.”

Carroll agrees. This is her first show at Eastern. The main reason she enjoys acting in this play is because her best friend is in the cast.

“I was so excited that we got to be in a show together,” she said. “We run lines together and it just gives us more time to spend with each other.”

“Cast Spell,” directed by Abigail Carter, a senior theater arts major, is just as unique as “The Murderest Mystery of Them All.”

“‘Cast Spell’ is a semi-thriller,” Carter said.

Her show is a play within a play. It is about a group of actors who received bad reviews on their performance.

Erin Drone, a sophomore early childhood education major, plays Paula, the stage manager.

Drone said after the disappointing reviews, the actors and actresses start talking about freaky things that have occurred in their lives, and the plot intensifies when spooky things actually start to happen.

“It’s a high-intensity drama,” Drone said. “However, our director has put in several comedic lines and actions that help break up the drama, and I really think the audience will enjoy the humor.”

Caitlin Bieda, freshmen theater arts major, plays Becky, the mother of character, Mickey.

Bieda has learned a lot of new things by acting in this play.

“I have learned to work in different settings and a different time frame. I have (also) learned about palmistry,” she said. “But most of all, I have learned to have complete respect for my director, regardless of (her) age.”

Carter said she has had to make sacrifices, such as not auditioning for the fall semester plays, because she is a director for the One Acts. On the contrary, she said directing is one of the most interesting positions she’s had.

Lara Black, senior theater arts major, plays Verna, a control freak with a superiority complex, who has to scare the actors multiple times throughout the play.

“I find it difficult to be around those kinds of people,” Black said. “I don’t think I would actually want to be like Verna or know her at all.”

Students can purchase tickets to One Acts by calling the Village Theatre ahead of time and reserving tickets or by coming in that day to get tickets. Admission is $5 for students, $10 for adults and senior citizens and $8 for faculty and staff.

Black hopes a lot of students will come to see One Acts.

“The play choices by the student directors are always very interesting and different from the main stage shows that you might normally see at Eastern,” she said. “Plus, two shows for the price of one!”

    Directing falls in the hands of students

    Directing falls in the hands of students

    Cast members from “The Murderest Mystery of Them All,” written by Eastern graduate Garin T. Jones, perform during dress rehearsal Wednesday evening at the Village Theatre. Robbie Wroblewski/On the Verge


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