Theater Students Shine in 2023 One Acts


Student Molly Comfort and Tiago Cortes showcase their skills in comedy in “Sure Thing” directed by Maddie Hodgden

Jailynn Goforth, Student Reporter / Co-Editor

On February 23rd – 25th, the Allen Theater Department put on their Student Directed One Acts and showcased their wide range of talents February. The Student Directed One Acts are various one act plays that are directed by students from the theater department. These one act plays were composed of five different performances ranging from stories about serial killers to love stories.


The first performance the students showcased was “Fugue” by Laura Elizabeth Miller. The short play was directed by Allen student Mariah Stackhouse. The show starred the young girls played by Rain Burleson, Marissa Friend, and Anna Hermreck. The main antagonist was played by international student Tiago Cortes.
In the play three young girls speak about the tragic endings to their short lives. The three actors stood in a row taking turns narrating and displaying motions that made me feel as though they were floating. Their arms and legs flowed in graceful movements, and Burleson displayed her impressive and beautiful acrobatic skills with different moves throughout the show.
As the girls told the story of their demise, Cortes portrayed the man who had tricked them into their ending. He started the play rocking in a chair innocently stroking a bunny but as soon as the girl’s story began to turn, so did Cortes’ demeanor.

Cortes is from Brazil and his first language is not English, but during his performance in “Fugue” the audience didn’t have a clue. The actor did not miss a beat and his accent left the audience skin crawling when paired with the personality of the character he was portraying. He even left the audience breathless and scared when he pulled out a knife and flashed it before the crowd as the young girls spoke about their deaths. Although a kind-hearted person in reality, Tiago Cortes truly embodied his character and left me with chills.

“Beyond Therapy”

The following act, “Beyond Therapy” by Christopher Durang, was much more lighthearted than the one before it. The scene was done by the acting class and starred Emily Ator as Prudence and J. Leach as Bruce. The two met on a blind date in a restaurant and quickly began an interesting conversation. Leach’s character, Bruce, announces that he is bisexual and has a male lover right after complimenting Prudence’s boobs.
Prudence is played as shy and a strong believer in the idea men should not cry. Leach’s character, shortly after he is told that his co-star doesn’t like men crying, bursts into tears. The moment makes the audience laugh as Ator responds with a hilarious display of awkward and uncomfortable movements, turning her head away and grimacing as she claims she doesn’t know where to look. The one act ended with the actors throwing water into each other’s faces, and this final scene left the audience rolling in laughter as well.


The next act was put on by the newly added improv group and starred Host, Tricia Stogsdill, and improv actors, Nautianna Goforth, Austin Morris, Molly Comfort, and Mariah Stackhouse. The group opened their act up with an exercise called Four Corners where the actors were given an object, a place, a relationship, and a situation. The four actors showed their skills of comedy when they all cracked one joke after another. The team played off one another and their creativity and ability to think on their feet shined during the whole show.
The team displayed two more exercises, one called Uber and another called Change. In Uber, three characters were given quirks that the uber driver, played by Morris, had to guess. Goforth was given Tourette’s Syndrome and repeatedly slapped Morris until the audience was in a fit of laughter and he finally guessed Tourette’s. Comfort was given the quirk of uncontrollable hiccups and led Morris to his conclusion by saying she needed to go to the hospital and ‘hiccuping up vomit’. Stackhouse killed the act by throwing her body onto the floor as she ‘fell asleep’ because of her narcolepsy. Morris guessed her conditions after she collapsed a few more times.
The actors ended their improv segment with two stars, Goforth and Comfort, performing a scene where they were given the scenario ‘awkward work party’. The two came up with a scene on the spot about a cheating boyfriend and a school work party. I was personally hysterical when the two had finished because of the things Goforth and Comfort had come up with on the spot. The two spouted line after line that hit every mark, truly showcasing their talent for improv.

Acting Competition

The second to last show that the students put on were the KCACTF Irene Ryan Acting Competition Audition Pieces. Two of the Allen theater students were selected to compete in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region V, Irene Ryan Acting Competition.
The two students, Austin Morris and Maddie Hodgden, showcased their own monologues and partner scenes. Morris opened up the night with a light hearted monologue of love and lust. His emotion was shown through grand gestures and a beautiful enunciation and change in voice, it felt as though he was speaking to the audience as a whole as he confessed his love. His scene partner was Mariah Stackhouse, they gave a laughter inducing show bickering about pet names for their newborn baby.

Hodgden gave a monologue that was dark and full of emotion and followed up with a scene of forbidden love with her acting partner, Nautianna Goforth.

“Sure Thing”

The last scene of the night was “Sure Thing” by David Ives, which was directed by Maddie Hodgden. Cortes and Comfort acted out the scene of a coffee shop impromptu date. The show edged on the side of improv and left me not knowing whether it was planned or just a pure display of improvisational talent. The show was fast-paced and packed full of hilarious jabs and comebacks that left the audience thoroughly intrigued and wondering what came next. Both actors showed true skill and portrayed pure talent as they worked their way through the last night of the show.

Overall, the entirety of the night was jam packed with a wide array of talent from returning and new student actors. Unseen skills were shown, such as acrobatics and improv, that left me wanting more. I will definitely be returning to watch the next show as this year’s theater group showcases a large group of promising stars.