‘Confessions’ Serves the Best New Plays

The biannual showcase of new plays written, directed and acted by the theater arts department’s advanced acting/directing class consists of six 10-minute one-act plays with the central theme of “confession.”

Interpretations of the theme ranged from the personal to the blasphemous; comedy, tragedy and even historical fiction were among this year’s contributions.

From top left: “The Men Who would be President,” “The Classifieds,” “Customer Service,” Digestion,” “A Delicate Nothing,” and “Love for Sale.”

At the end of every semester, the best of the new plays are presented in the Studio Theater, an intimate venue designed for simple, dialogue-based productions. It is not a venue that lends itself to elaborate sets or props, so the emphasis is placed on acting and directing.

Although the quality of “Confessions” was, at times, uneven, it did not disappoint. Unfortunately, the new plays are performed for only one weekend. The following is a brief summary of the six new plays.
Bad parenting and the Kennedy clan make for realistic historical speculation in “The Men Who Would Be President,” written by Sergio Castillo and directed by Amanda Hall. Did Joseph Kennedy Sr., played by Sergio Castillo, exploit his children for his own political ends? Did son Joe Jr., played by Chris Beltran, unnecessarily risk his life to win his fathers love? One drunken night after a family get-together, the confessions start flying.

“The Classifieds,” written by Jessyca Bluwal and directed by Meagon Ligons, offers irreverent fun in sound bites. Expect to be offended, or delighted, by the goods and services sought and provided by various religious figures through classified advertisments come to life.

Tony, played by Carlo Morelli, may be the worst employee Duane (Sergio Castillo) has. He spends his day goofing off with co-worker Steve (Ryan Robbins) and flirting with immediate supervisor Nancy (Jessyca Bluwal), who just isn’t having it.

“Customer Service,” written by Jose Fernandez and directed by Nick Cambell, explores what might happen if an armed robber (Chris Beltran) happened to attack somebody with nothing to lose. Tony disarms his assailant with his mouth long before he seizes his weapon, proving that confessions may be empowering.

Digestion starts strong and finishes badly with a duffel bag dragged onto the stage. May (Valerie Walker) is the body in the bag, and despite being treated badly is still very much alive and coherent. Her abductors, Iris and Edward (played by Amanda Hall and Ryan Robbins) have mixed feelings about who is at fault and how best to handle this unfortunate state of affairs. Eventually, Father John (Carlo Morelli) arrives to finish the job, but before it is all over, a series of confessions implicates the entire Catholic system and the Pope specifically. “Digestion” was written and directed by Sergio Castillo.

Can two friends remain friends when one has first proposed no-strings-attached sex, then followed it with a confession of unrequited love? “A Delicate Nothing,” written by Sergio Castillo and directed by Tony Silva attempts to resolve the issue over a few cocktails. Desperate Darrel was played by Adam Taheri, sensible Arineh by Meagon Ligons.

A prostitute and a conservative senator? This couple has a lot more in common than they perhaps know and “Love for Sale” explores some possible common ground that springs from the confession of the machinations that brought them together. Tanya, a hooker with a MENSA IQ, is portrayed by Valerie Walker and Bible-thumping senator Irving, by Nick Campbell.

In addition, production supervisor Melissa Randel and stage manager Camilo Villegas Giorgi kept the show running smoothly.
“Confessions” is six different ways of seeing what might happen if one were to be completely truthful — if only for one act.