Sewanee playwriting students present plays in an unusual place

by Sam Scott
Staff Writer

Visitors to the libraryon February 26 found themselves participating in one of the most unique artistic endeavors on campus. More specifically, the visitors to the freight elevator got to see a series of short plays performed entirely within its four walls. Given the limited space, many audience members had to wait out a cycle or two until the elevator made room for them, though we received some tantalizing glimpses of actors running in and out of the elevator shouting about hand sanitizer and “Aloise! Aloise!”

In fact, it was a bit of a backstage pass for us, as some saw actors commenting on their past performances and preparing to go onstage. After boarding the moving stage, audiences were greeted by a fourth-wall breaking John Mark Lampley (C’16) before he settled into his role as a gofer for the talk show host played by Dr. Lauryl Tucker.

Later plays involved a mission from the Muses, a wish-granting zebra doll, a shouting match over hand sanitizer rights, and the torrid love affair between Henry and Aloise, in which Henry insists a menage a trois only counts as cheating once. The audience played an active role in the proceedings, with one viewer (“You! Voiceless weirdo!”) finding himself roped into the plotline.

According to contributor Sarah Kachelman (C’17), each of the writers was assigned a prop and acast and had 24 hours to write their scripts, with thirty minutes rehearsal time. “The biggest challenge was coordinating the piece to where it would end when the elevator got back down, so we were counting it down to the seconds,” Kachelman said, and added in regards to her prompt, “It was challenging, what am I gonna do with this doughnut?” Despite the elevator’s frequent refusal to comply with the casts’ meticulous timeframe, the show was still an entertaining night for all, and a brilliant showcase for the talents and ingenuity of Sewanee’s actors and writers.