By River Mitchell
On Nov. 10-12, Springfield College Theater hosted an event in The William Simpson Fine Arts Series. Shorts & Briefs, directed by Professor of Theater Arts Martin Shell, featured seven one-act plays – each about 10 minutes long – performed by Springfield College students and faculty.
The shorts were a mix of serious and comedic plays. They also featured three “World Premieres,” which were plays written by Literature, Writing and Journalism (LWJ) department faculty members. Shell presented the opportunity for faculty members who he saw as creative writers to construct and act in these plays.
Becky Lartigue, who is a professor of English in the LWJ department, wrote two of the original plays that were featured. The pieces, titled “Sure” and “Not-So-Brightspace,” were also accompanied by others such as “The Blueberry Hill Accord,” “Hope Chest” and “The Bucket Brigade,” written by the chair of LWJ, Anne Wheeler.
Although Shell has done things similar to this in the past, this was the first year that he had invited faculty and staff members to participate, including Lartigue.
“What people like about one-acts [which is a type of play] is they’re really fast moving [and] they’re often comic,” Lartigue said. “They sort of start you off really quickly and throw you into the middle of an interesting or chaotic situation. They tend to be well received by audiences.”
For faculty to have the opportunity in the presentation of the World Premiers, they wrote scripts and sent them to Shell, who picked three scripts to show during the production. Once Lartigue found out that two of her scripts had been selected, this simultaneously kicked off the rehearsal process.
“A lot goes into interpreting the parts, figuring out the staging, the blocking [and] the inner lives of the characters,” Lartigue said. “Professor Shell works on the sets, the costuming, the music cues, the lighting, the sound cues [etc]. It’s a few weeks worth of work to lead up to that weekend production.”
Professors Paul Thifault and Chelsea Corr-Limoges acted in the plays – along with students Octavia Courcy, Chelsea Mensah and Dikshya Upadhyaya. In the past, Lartigue has performed in numerous different Springfield College Theater productions. So for her, being on the stage in front of a crowd is nothing new.
“It’s very rewarding to get to work with Professor Shell and with student and colleague actors,” Lartigue said. “It’s nice to interact with students in and out of a class setting and to get to see their excellence.”
Photo courtesy of Damon Markiewicz.