One-act reviews: editor’s picks

by Cutter Kilgore

 A Charming Proposal:

Thunder rips through the night. A jagged white seam of lightning on a black storm-addled sky, and love is just a puzzle that our bumbling hero can’t seem to solve.

Sandwiched in the gooey center of several amusing student-written plays was Cecilee Beck’s “A Charming Proposal.” And charming was an apt choice of words for this particularly delightful comedy.

Boy loves girl. Boy wants to marry girl. Boy sneaks into home to surprise girl, and in a series of increasingly slapstick events, culminating in a maelstrom gale and a silly-string disaster, he bumbles his way into her affections and those of the audience.

“I wish love was more technological,” declares nerdy Eugene, played with pizzazz by Kyle Musilek.  But love has no logic, technical or otherwise, which is probably why we root for him, our underdog hero.

Eugene’s potential fiancée is the bouncy and oblivious Sharon, played by Amanda Thorton. Both actors use melodramatic facial expressions and body language with uproarious effect in this crowd-pleasing farce.

Love-struck and nerve-wracked Eugene gets his girl amidst a whirlpool of onstage antics that reflects the often very chaotic nature of life and love. It’s a winner of a feel-good play that makes no miss-steps and doesn’t outlive its novelty, as a few of the others seemed to. I’m sure glad I didn’t miss it.

by Katy Kappele

Mind of Charles:

Nicholas Cunnigham’s “Mind of Charles,” performed by Kyle Musilek, Erika Olson, Viet Ha, and Mark Broyles, was by far the most thought-provoking of the plays preformed during Whatcom Community College’s one-act play festival.

The genius of the “Mind of Charles” was that it takes human psychology and makes it into an intriguing alien world through which we understand not only the convict named Charles, but also ourselves. All of us have a One, the strait-laced angel on the shoulder that our mothers want us to listen to, and a Two, the mischievous devil inside that is convinced if she cheats she’ll win. One and Two might be in love and truly wish to help each other, but true to human nature, each will put his or her needs before those of the other. I was deeply intrigued and affected by the human exchanges between the very different friends in Charles’ head.

The play would have been more effective if the executioner and Charles had not shared dialogue. If the dialogue had ended with Two saying she regretted nothing and was true to her nature in the end, the point would have been made more succinctly. The executioner’s dialogue could have been removed by removing his hood and allowing the audience to see that he was Three, the subject of much debate throughout the play, and in the end, the desired savior of One and Two, who allowed them to escape their “room” full of puzzles and be free.

The special effects on the electric chair were awesome.

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