by Lily Davenport
Starting on Feb. 28 and running through Mar. 2, Theatre/Sewanee will present A National Conference on Youth, a collection of five short plays, at 7:30 p.m. in the Studio Theatre at the Tennessee Williams Center. The first selection, “Cannibals,” by Heather Dundas, is directed by Chase Brantley (C’15) and features Elise Anderson (C’16), Mary Morrison (C’15), Aaron Browning (C’14), Charlotte La Nasa (C’16), and Adreyauna Lewers (C’16). The second piece, “Hold for Three,” by Sherry Kramer, is directed by Morrison and features La Nasa, Ruth Guerra (C’16), and Hyatt Pyle (C’14). The third scene, “The Battle of Bull Run Always Makes Me Cry,” by Carole Real, is directed by Megan Quick (C’15) and features Guerra, Browning, Ally Hollis (C’16), and Carter Stough (C’13). The fourth play, “The Man Who Couldn’t Dance,” by Jason Katims, is directed by Sarah Weldon (C’14) and featrues Brantley and Quick. The final piece, “The Janitor,” by August Wilson, is directed by Michael Caskey (C’13) and features Pyle and Lewers.
“Cannibals” is described on the Sewanee website as “a hilarious and touching story of a young mother attempting to control a morning carpool of four children,” while “Hold for Three” is “a light-hearted comedy, in which two girls convince and succeed in getting their friend to hold his breath as the moon rises.” “The Battle of Bull Run Always Makes Me Cry” depicts three young women engaging in a first-date recap. “The Man Who Couldn’t Dance” depicts a conversation between two former lovers, and “The Janitor” presents a conference center-janitor’s thoughts on youth’s “sweetness and flight.”
According to Brantley, the idea for the show grew out of student interest from last semester. After receiving numerous requests for more shows, with a greater level of student involvement, Brantley “started reading Take Ten: New 10 Minutes Plays, edited by Eric Land and Nina Shengold, and The Ensemble Studio Theater’s Marathon 2000… I [then] pieced together five scenes for this production that centered around youth.” Brantley’s goal in creating A National Conference on Youth is “to provide students with more opportunities to direct, act, and design”; indeed, the show is “completely student run, designed, and performed.” Eventually, Brantley hopes that “this will become an annual spring tradition… It might even evolve into a forum to feature student work, which would be ideal.”