UW Platteville’s One Act Festival


Morgan Fuerstenberg graphic

The Pioneer Players One Act Festival premiered May 4-6 in the CFA theater. The show consisted of four different one act plays with the first being “The Tell-Tale Heart” written by Edgar Allan Poe and directed by Isabelle Sander.

In an interview with the Exponent, Sander mentioned how she personally adapted “The Tell-Tale Heart” for stage and was inspired by her dad, Christopher, because he had always wanted to see the show performed live by a solo actor. Sander stated, “I decided to make my last hurrah here at Platteville for my dad.”

Sander noted that she had always been fascinated with the work of Edgar Allan Poe but “The Tell-Tale Heart” always stuck out to her. She was also inspired by expressionist art and the Theatre of the Absurd.

Sander spoke of some of the challenges that arose while directing this show, with the biggest one being time. “We obviously have a very short time frame where we can put these up,” Sander said, “there was a lot of crunching lines with my actors and drilling things into their heads, but I’m really happy with the outcome. They really took my vision to heart and brought it to life on the stage.”

The second show was “The Bench: A Play in Four Seasons” written by Carrie T. Gruman-Trinkner and directed by Alex Bartel.

Bartel noted that “The Bench: A Play in Four Seasons” held a special place in his heart as the author, Carrie T. Gruman-Trinkner, was a former teacher of Bartel. Bartel mentioned how the scenes on the bench represent “some of the toughest and most personal moments in a person’s life, with topics such as abuse and grief, to coming out and aging.”

Bartel believes the use of seasons in the show symbolize the time it takes for growth and transition between the cornerstone moments of a person’s life.

The show could not have been done without the design team. Bartel thanked all of them for the patience and talent in transforming the actors and the space. Bartel also thanked the members of the cast for helping bring this production to life.

The third show was “The Big Picture” written by Mark Harvey Levine and directed by Ann Dillon Farrelly.

“The Big Picture” was the shortest of all the shows performed that night but was a much-needed comedy after some of the heavier subject matter in “The Bench: A Play in Four Seasons.”

“The Big Picture” is described as a “10-minute play” where a kindergarten classroom is described as “a battlefield where crayons come to life.”

The fourth and final show was “Clark and Bruce” written by Bruce Kane and directed by Aleta Mullikin. Mullikin spoke about how she is a nontraditional student, and how it was important to her that the jokes and humor in the show were timeless and appealing to all age groups. Mullikin stated that “the main characters are from tv shows I watched as a child which made a very strong connection to them.”

She went on to say that it was a concern of hers that she wouldn’t be able to find actors to play the two main characters because their chemistry was so important. “Fortunately, I found them and the interaction between them was wonderful.” Mullikin said, “I would not use the word unexpected. I prefer, delighted, amazed, thrilled and so grateful.”

Mullikin spoke very highly of her entire cast, stating they put in 100% of themselves into making sure there was a funny and entertaining show. “I loved working with them.” Mullikin stated, “I cannot possibly thank them enough for how much effort and energy they put into this show to make sure it was a success.”

Mullikin also wanted to thank Dr. Jeffrey Strange who found the “Bat-light” stating that having it was a perfect end for a perfect show.