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USD Theatre Department Presents Student-Directed One-Act Plays

Abby Schwedhelm, Bonnie Bouc, and Liz Paz - USD students on stage in a one-act play production. Pictured is Abby Schwedhelm, Bonnie Bouc and Liz Paz (L to R).

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre presents its annual One-Act Play Festival, a collection of short works directed by a USD theatre student, with USD students filling all of the roles of cast, designers, technicians and crew.

This year’s annual Ron L. Moyer One-Act Plays features three very different short plays.

Junior B.F.A. design and technology student Benjamin Schultz directs Sarah Kane’s “4.48 Psychosis,” a poetic and avant-garde look at depression, mental health and suicide.

“Often interpreted as an expression of clinical depression, ‘4.48 Psychosis’ features heightened poetic language and a loose dialogue structure; no specified characters or stage directions are given by the playwright,” said Schultz. “This structure allows the opportunity for the director, designers and cast to collaborate and create a piece of theatre that is both artistically challenging and memorable for audiences.”

“4.48 Psychosis” features strong adult language, the taking of medication for mental illness and themes of depression and suicide.

Two other plays, written by USD students, are presented under the auspices of USD’s Student Theatre Cooperative (STC).

Senior secondary English education major Sawyer Sterud directs senior B.F.A. musical theatre major Carter Hoffer’s drama, “A Sky Blue Roof,” which explores the relationship of two estranged adult brothers following the funeral of their abusive father.

“’A Sky Blue Roof’ is about two brothers trying to figure out what to do with their old childhood home after the funeral of their father,” said Sterud. “They have different viewpoints and bring up memories to convince one another to either save or destroy the house. Past and present intertwine as the brothers come to terms and look to the future.”

Senior B.F.A. design and technology student Alivia Olson directs third-year M.F.A. directing student Oliver Mayes’s comedy “Leo and Momma. Leo, a 20-something queer person, embarks on a quest for love and romance, but through an imaginative journey with his imaginary mother by his side, finds himself beginning a new quest.

Olson explores self-acceptance and love in Oliver Mayes’ new play “Leo and Momma” and speaks on the idea of representation with her play and cast. “I was really drawn to this script because I feel it is relatable to a lot of the people around me, especially the people that I was able to cast.”

All three plays will be streamed for free at www.usd.edu/fine-arts/theatre/live  March 26 and 27 at 7:30 p.m. and March 28 at 2 p.m. Check out USD Theatre on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for information about upcoming productions of the One Act Plays.

ABOUT THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS

USD's College of Fine Arts encourages students to pursue their chosen professional field in art, music or theater through their study with nationally recognized faculty who are working professionals. Students learn and grow to be professional fine artists with great job potential anywhere in the country. The college offers opportunities for additional real-world experiences through work with guest artists, study tours abroad and opportunities at the National Music Museum and the University Art Galleries on the Vermillion campus and the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park. The college brings more than 80 guests artists to campus annually to work with students.

ABOUT USD

Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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