Bringing Meaning to the Stage: A Review of A Night of One Acts (2013)

"It All Comes Together in the End" was written and directed by Benjamin Reese. 

"It All Comes Together in the End" was written and directed by Benjamin Reese. 

In early December I enjoyed the privilege of attending The Arts at Center Street’s A Night of One Acts.  Over the course of the evening, the acts challenged my perspective, healed my soul with laughter, and provoked thought for relevant dialogue concerning our universal human experience.

Up first, the entertaining and thought-provoking piece “Real Meaningful” awakened the audience to consider the conflicting values of pleasure and significance.  In this act, “Waffle Hotel,” a casual diner, provided the setting for comedic dialogue addressing issues of racism, ignorance, sexuality and responsibility.  “Real Meaningful” entertained us and encouraged us to evaluate our ethical standpoints. 

“It All Comes Together in the End” was charming and relatable.  Four students fought through finals week with just enough pretense that they thought they could get by without the others seeing their reality for what it was: a mess.  Who is anyone helping with a flawless façade to prove that everything s going fine?  This act creatively exposes both the issues of being paralyzed by fear, and of our attempts to conceal failures for fear of being exposed.  When fear controls us, we’re certain to fail because as it turns out, it all doesn’t come together in the end.

The closing act was a drama with emotive dialogue that left those of us in the audience to explore new possibilities in our lives as adults, even with so-called baggage. In “Anonymous” strangers in a support group reluctantly stumbled into conversations about each character’s identity.  I’m grateful for “Anonymous” because I believe it illuminated questions of what defines people, the human response to loss, and the potential to recover from mistakes.

Some of us find ourselves in a world where youth stop asking questions that seek understanding and significance, only to surrender their ideals to a pursuit of pleasure. Some live with a consciousness of fear that is so possessive that they’re singularly focused on appearing as though they have it all together, while simultaneously falling apart.  Many of these youth find themselves entering adulthood believing that they’re defined by the mistakes of their past, and being too damaged to change or recover from tragedy. A Night of One Acts provided a basis for good discussion regarding such universal human issues.  Each act nudged open the door of possibility for both the young and old in the audience.  I enjoyed all three acts and I sincerely believe that, like me, others left feeling moved and challenged by the experience that evening.  Thank you to all who poured your efforts into making these issues come to life on stage for us!

What a refreshing piece of meaningful entertainment! I would love to see more like this.

Written by Heather Maute