How to avoid blowing up in anger management class, how to market a mystery product and how to build the Tower of Babel are the problematic situations contained in a trio of comedic one-act plays being presented by College of Lake County theater students April 14-15 and 21-23.
The plays are "The Clive Way" by John P. Dowgin, "The Banderscott" by Pete Barry and "Babel's in Arms" by David Ives. They make up the seventh annual production of "Play On! A CLC Theatre Student Showcase," in which students showcase their abilities as actors, directors, stage managers, designers and technicians.
"'Play On!' gives our students the opportunity to develop the skills they are learning in their classes, collaborate within a production team and realize their overall artistic vision," said Craig Rich, theater department co-chair.
"This invaluable training prepares them to transfer to four-year theater programs and lays the foundation for them to succeed as future theater professionals."
"Babel's in Arms" puts a new spin on an old story. Two blue-collar Mesopotamian construction workers are handed a provocative task: build the Tower of Babel, or else.
"The show is hilarious," said Director Cody Summers of Lindenhurst. "The audience will relate because the play shows an everyday example of how class structure works.
"Directing it has pulled together all of my experience in comedic shows and my absolute love for cartoons. I can use these experiences to guide my actors and the designers into creating a hilarious and beautiful piece of live art."
Summers received a Kennedy Center American College Theatre Irene Ryan nomination for his role in "The Tempest" and traveled to China to perform with a CLC group in 2016. He plans to continue his theater education at University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
In "The Banderscott," an infomercial marketer is pitched an astonishing product, the Banderscott, but before he can create an advertising campaign, he has to figure out exactly what it does. Nicholas Johnson of Waukegan selected and directs the play.
"It really stood out to me because it deals with marketing and the shady side of business," Johnson said. "I thought this show would challenge me. There are 11 actors and actresses to manage, and sometimes it can be a daunting task to make sure they are all on the same page.
"There is a lot of physical humor and jokes, and the actors really make the show come to life. There are moments that are very serious, but they bounce right back to being funny."
Johnson won the prestigious Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas Award for "Los Vendidos" at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Region III Festival in January, which includes one week of theater master classes in Las Vegas. He plans to transfer to University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to major in technical theater.
In the third play, "The Clive Way," a group of anger management patients are about to complete a six-month course, "Learning to Coexist with Fury," when a motivational speaker attempts to empower them by showing them his own method.
Director Liz Hernandez of Zion chose the play because it treats emotions in a funny way and shows how a female therapist deals with the anger issues of three different men.
The opportunity to direct and make design decisions in a fully staged production has honed Hernandez's leadership and communication skills and made her more confident, she said.
"This has been a nice way to end my learning experience with CLC theater. In my directing and play analysis classes, I learned to transform text on stage and how to talk to actors/others without commanding them. Theatre is all about collaboration."
Hernandez received a KCACTF Irene Ryan nomination for "Everyman," traveled to China with a CLC group and plans to transfer to either University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee or Millikin University to major in musical theater.
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 14 -15 and 21-22, and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 23, in the Studio Theatre, James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts, 19351 W. Washington St., Grayslake.
The plays contain adult language. Tickets are $12 for the general public and $10 for CLC students and staff, teens and seniors, and include a JLC $2 facility fee. Buy one ticket, get one free April 14 and 21.
For tickets, call (847) 543-2300 or visit www.clcillinois.edu/tickets. The Box Office is open from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 60 minutes before each performance.