Oklahoma Christian University’s Department of Communication held the One Act of Faith: Festival of Plays and Film Saturday April 14.
The festival accepted donations instead of charging admission. They raised more than $100, according to Chara Watson, assistant stage producer for theater. Proceeds will go to With Purpose, a youth and community-led movement dedicated to making sure kids with cancer have access to safe and effective treatment options.
“For a long time, people just believed the story that there just wasn’t much you could do for kids with cancer, but With Purpose takes a leap of faith to say that is not the story that we have to tell,” Watson said.
The first half of the festival presented one-act plays written by students and centered around the theme “Leap of Faith.” Matteo Guthrie wrote and directed “The Many Risks of Pet Ownership,” and Lisa Pergi wrote and directed “Mixed Messages.” Watson said they did not write these plays for class credit, but instead participated because they love theater.
According to Pergi, her play explores different experiences with God’s presence and voice in Christianity. She said producing a show requires a myriad of tasks and responsibilities.
“Before college, I only pursued acting opportunities, but as I look at my career, I’m more interested in all the other aspects,” Pergi said. “The festival has enabled me with a platform to practice directing and writing in the same way people in my chosen career do every day in theaters around the world.”
Special guest Rick Lippert, an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City Community College, University of Oklahoma who was instrumental in starting the Oklahoma Film Institute, commented on the two plays, as well as one-act play writing tips.
“Any student who does something just because they like it—that’s commendable,” Lippert said. “Just hearing that they did not receive any college credit for this is very impressive in my book, being a professor.”
Lippert suggested keeping 10-minute plays in one location. He said they need anywhere from two to five characters and stressed the importance of including conflict and a story arc in the play.
“The protagonist needs to express his or her goal by the end of page one,” Lippert said. “We have to know right away what’s at stake. The protagonist needs to be different at the end than at the beginning. Write about the day that is different. In ‘Mixed Messages,’ we had several of those days.”
For the second half of the festival, directing students presented a 10-minute play followed by a film adaptation as a culmination of their work in Larry Jurney’s directing for stage and screen class. These included “Blind Date,” “Call of Revolution” and “The Game.”
Pergi directed the stage adaptation of “Blind Date” with assistant director John Tower. She said working with other directing students was a unique and beneficial experience.
“The show must always go on, so it’s been great to see my entire class band together and use our collective talents to put on a great show,” Pergi said. “Everyone does what they can. I’ve even helped with lights when before, I knew absolutely nothing.”