This popular annual event offers an eclectic sampling of short plays in a variety of styles, from the zany comedy of David Lindsay Abaire’s “Baby Food” to the intense drama of Amy Lowell and Robert Frost’s “The Bond,“ and from the absurdly comic “‘dentity Crisis” by Christopher Durang to the downhome wisdom of “Lives of the Great Waitresses” by Nina Shengold.

Senior theatre studies and psychology major Madeline Schmitt directs “‘dentity Crisis”, a play about a young woman who is trying to cope in ever-changing and ever stranger surroundings. “I have mostly been drawn to heavy dramas, and I wanted to stretch myself with something more comic. Last year I directed a scene from Durang’s “Beyond Therapy” and I loved his fractured comic take on psychology, identity, and relationships,” said Schmitt.

Senior theatre studies major Courtney Dahlberg directs “The Bond.” The serious play blends naturalism and non-realism as three women recount the most difficult events in their lives, unaware of the others’ presences on stage. Created by two poets, the play uses language and pacing in unusual ways to slowly reveal the details of these women’s lives.

Recent MFA directing graduate and current adjunct instructor Rebecca Bailey directs two pieces this year. At about twelve minutes each, “Baby Food” and “Lives of the Great Waitresses” are the shortest plays in the program. In “Baby Food,” a young couple realizes that their friends’ invitation to dinner comes with some pretty bizarre strings attached. “Lives of the Great Waitresses” consists mostly of monologues women deliver directly to the audience, giving insight both humorous and poignant into these women’s lives.

These four diverse plays will be presented in the Arena Theatre in the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 21. A 2 p.m. matinee is on Sunday, Oct. 22.

Tickets ($15 Adults, $12 Senior Citizen [62+], $10 K-12 & non-USD students with ID, and $5 USD students with ID can be purchased in the afternoons (12 – 5 pm) starting October 16 by visiting or calling the USD Theatre Box Office at (605) 677-5400 or online.

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