“The town crier spoke my lines…”

Greetings to readers, faculty, fellow loggers, time lords, parasitic life forms, etc. etc. I am coming to you from the chaotic madness that is midterm season—probably the least opportune time for me to take a break from schoolwork for something like a writing a blog post, I know. But I just can’t fight the urge to spew a little love on the Internet about this year’s Town Crier Speaks Festival. 

For those unfamiliar with Town Crier, TCSF is an annual theatre festival of six short original plays, and is entirely student-run: all the plays are written, directed, and acted in by UPS students—not to mention the student techies and producers, who I thought were beyond brilliant! Okay, maybe I’m a little biased because this year’s producers were my roommates Robyn Helwig and Shelby Isham, but seriously, the amount of dedication and skill that goes into producing a project like this is just incredible. Shelby and Robyn have been working on organizing and producing this year’s Town Crier for the past five months. (Which just blows me away, personally. Seriously, five months? I get distracted focusing on one project for more than a couple of hours. In a related story, there is definitely a midterm paper I should be working on right now.)

This year’s festival took place over this past weekend, and had a fantastic lineup of plays: GO. by Casey Oakes, A Toy for Juliet by Lindsey Salazar, Pendulum by Jordan Moeller, Encore by Andrew Lutfala, Human Resources by Daniel C. Smith, and A Case Worth Taking by Darrin Schultz. Whether it was slapstick-esque comedy, film noir parody, twisted time travel, or zombie apocalypse, the actors performed with such a genuine and intense energy that the audience was often either holding their breaths in anxiety or roaring with laughter. Even in some of the darker plays, I found myself laughing frequently at the perverse humor and at times shocking physical comedy; always keeping the audience on their toes and never knowing quite what to expect, in the best possible way.

If I had to pick, my favorite play of the evening would probably be Encore, which was written by Andrew Lutfala and directed by Ellie Freeman. Austen Harrison starred as a janitor in this one-man show, speaking to the audience directly as though he was an actual janitor cleaning up the theater in the middle of the play. As his monologue went on, the mild-mannered janitor divulged more and more about his lifelong desire to be a performer and his desperate need for an audience to affirm his existence, escalating in emotional intensity until he was screaming at the audience to speak to him. The tension in the audience was palpable: we’ve been taught all our lives that it’s not appropriate to speak during a performance in a theater, especially not to the actors, but Austen’s performance was so believable that it was hard not to feel a certain level of discomfort—Wait, is he actually asking us to speak? Should we say something, just to put this poor guy out of his agony? Even though it was later revealed that the janitor had been putting on an act, the intensity of that moment was definitely something that stayed with the audience through to the end of the show.

Congrats on a great show to everyone who took part in TCSF, from the brilliant writers and actors to the tireless directors, producers, and techies who dedicated their time to put together the show as a whole—I’d honestly love to go on rambling about how much I enjoyed the plays, but unfortunately I really should be getting back to that paper…

I’m looking forward to reading more posts from my fellow (b)loggers, and I hope everyone has a fantastic fall break!