At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19th, of this year, One Song Productions brought together a remarkable group of high school students from the Triangle area to begin their 12th annual 48-hour play-writing, producing, and performing endeavor since the group began. This ensemble of 30 or so young people, obviously, were meeting for this purpose for their first time.
February 48 XII is just what it says. The students create out of thin air six different short plays that are written, rehearsed, and performed two nights later on Sunday, Feb. 21st. This is a daunting exercise, but these folk grappled with it and won the day.
The rules include each play using the same opening and closing lines, in this case taken from J.D. Salinger’s 1951 novel, Catcher in the Rye. The common opening line was “People always clap for the wrong things,” and the closer was “I’m always saying ‘Glad to’ve met you’ to somebody I’m not at all glad I met.”
First, a disclaimer: we are easily the Triangle’s oldest reviewers, having graduated from high school in the 1950s (yes, there really were 1950s!), so we missed many contemporary references and slangs, and probably themes and memes. However, we are hip enough to have recognized that performers hit their mark by the audience’s overwhelmingly enthusiastic reaction. This audience loved these shows. We even enjoyed most of what saw, even parts we didn’t fully understand.
We laughed a lot, although — as is pretty common in very short works — these were all comedies, and with the mature underpinnings of serious issues. Getting through high school has always been pretty stressful in any era, as was pointed out here. And the problems of dating and especially blind dating are fair grist for this mill. The meanings and vagaries of dreams lend themselves to creative interpretations; and the predatory devices of salesmen make for hilarious moments, pointing out also the gullibility of many people when dealing with the myriad of new technologies.
The clever stage use of the TV device of panning to a side scene to demonstrate narrative was well used, especially when a janitor falls asleep in the priest’s side of a confessional and is then awakened by guilty parishioners.
The energy, imagination, and dedication of this gaggle of inspired teens is heart-warming; and the results are impressive. This is a one-night show, and must be by its own definition; but be on the watch for next year’s offering from One Song Productions.
Interested theatergoers would also be well advised to watch for their production of Tennessee Williams’ 1944 play, The Glass Menagerie, on March 10-12.
SECOND OPINION: Feb. 11th Raleigh, NC News & Observer preview by Corbie Hill: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/thumbs-up/article59941051.html.
FEBRUARY 48 XII (One Song Productions, Feb. 21 at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro).
SHOW: http://artscenterlive.org/events/one-song-productions-presents-feb-48/ and https://www.facebook.com/events/1513241778978801/.
PRESENTER: http://www.1songproductions.org/, https://www.facebook.com/pages/One-Song-Productions/136779861220, and https://twitter.com/onesongtheatre.
VENUE: http://www.artscenterlive.org/, https://www.facebook.com/artscenterlive, and https://twitter.com/ArtsCenterlive.
[RUN HAS CONCLUDED.]
Martha Keravuori is a life-long theater artist — an actress, director, and stage manager — in North Carolina, around the country, and overseas. She has a theater degree from UNC-Greensboro, and has been active in the arts in Raleigh for the past 40 years. Martha is the retired executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Chuck Galle returned to Raleigh last year after a 17-year absence. He was active in community theater for many years, and directed the troupe of maximum-security inmates at Raleigh’s Central Prison known as the Central Prison Players. In New England, he performed on stage, on TV, and in films. He is the author of Stories I Never Told My Daughter — An Odyssey, which can be ordered on his website: http://www.chuckgalle.com/. Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori review theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Boom! Magazine and here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.