Ocean Township: This past weekend, the Ocean Township High School Spartan Players presented a One Act Drama Festival featuring three one-act plays.
The first play, “Cheaters,” took place in a high-school classroom where both the teacher and administration accused two students of cheating on the latest exam. Throughout the performance, characters were pitted against each other revealing who they “thought” was the real cheater.
However, with a twist, the story took a turn when the administration secured access to student smart phones and peripheral devices. Alertly, one character knew something was wrong and did not participate by naming names or by accusing other students of cheating. Her actions forced the administration’s accusations to crumble when she connected the dots only to find out that the higher powers were illegally accessing the student’s private emails, chats, and txt messages on their phones.
By their own admission, the administration added spying apps on student phones to address a “security” concern, stating that this class of students represented a large cross section of the student population and that any data they received would help them counter their concerns. The play challenged ideas of security, peer pressure, and morality. Interestingly enough the ending of the play used these themes as a form of role reversal leaving the audience wondering how far they would go to play games with an authoritative figure.
The second play, “Louder, I can’t Hear You” was a comedy about the tragic, humorous, and mundane parts of life. This play focused on fact that people don’t listen any more. The play focused around the mother’s inability to be heard by anyone at any time. Everyone in her life doesn’t listen to her. From her husband and kids to the Dr. she visits to find answers, everyone ignores her or marginalizes her feelings.
This comedy plays off of modern day familial relationships that have become evidently true in our society. By poking fun at how we live, this play opens our eyes up to the fact the we all need to be both listened to and respected.
The play ends where it starts, back in the kitchen where the Mother, Hannah Berenberg, finally has an epiphany. When she finally confronts her family her family attempts to make things “right” only to fall immediately back on their ways, needing her to find, fix, and make things happen for the family. This one act comedy reminds us that we cannot fix what we take for granted and that our co-dependency on other people runs deeper than we often think.
The third and final play, “The Girl Who Was Asked To Turn Blue” was a story of an embryonic world full of “blue” characters. Bizarre in some ways and very smurfdom in others, this play used color and light to it’s advantage. In a world where everything was both assimilated, marginalized, and blue, a young stranger, Tracey Logan, enters a world where she is forced to make a choice. To stay she must turn blue. Otherwise, she will be ostracized forever. This conflict runs deep throughout the skit and causes several “blue” characters to question the rumors, stories, and history of their culture. Pressured by the colony, Tracey must make a choice; one that will dictate how she will spend the rest of her life. After much debate by the embryonic colony and their leader, Tracey decides not to turn blue and is forced to leave the colony behind.
Banished she finds herself alone, in this new blue world only to be joined by a fellow person with lifelike skin tones and full of “color.” Her choice to be alone let her find peace within herself thus creating the illusion of happiness when she finds another person just like her banished from the Blue Colony forever.
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Though completely different, these three one-act plays highlighted the talents of the Spartan Players. All three plays clearly addressed; conflict, drama, tension, and morality. These themes, though not congruent, kept the audience interested and entertained throughout the performance.