In our lives, we tend to hold on to moments in time that are significant to us. To shed light on this relatively under-appreciated perspective, Professor John C. Ball and the Drama 2173 class performed three One-Act plays on November 28th, 29th and 30th at Memorial Hall from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Each play was a representation of the original, and the characters and settings were studied in depth by the students.
The first play, “The Long Christmas Dinner” written by Thornton Wilder, was an depiction of a family celebrating Christmas dinners over generations which emphasized the passage of time. It was conveniently the longest play of the three.The production team set up a fascinating portrayal of the cycle of life with white and black portals that represented birth and death respectively. The play therefore had several humorous as well as somber moments.
The second play, “The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camedon” by the same playwright, was shorter but evoked more energy than the first. It was about a family’s car journey setting out from Trenton to meet their eldest married daughter in Camedon. The representation of the car was acted out very realistically despite lack of many supporting props. It had plenty of humourous components but concluded it with a touching ending.
The last play, “The Green Hill”, was the most challenging play to design for the production team. It revolved around a man named Jake who envisioned a serene green hill, and was then willing to sacrifice everything to find it in person. Written by David Ives, the play represented thought-provoking themes with an ending that was open to interpretation.
The production team had to overcome several difficulties while working on the plays. From organizing three distinctive sets in the thirty seconds that were given in-between each play - to meticulously choreographing a long piece of silk that represented the hill. Actors and set managers alike worked for two months to embody the spirit of each play.
The three plays worked best with the abundance of students within the class, but unfortunately some had to drop out. The final cast enthusiastically took on empty roles. Some students even performed in all three plays! It took a lot of trial-and-error as well as practice to make the minimalist sets work but the end result was extremely successful.
Around 160 people attended over the three days. On the Friday performance, for the first time in a very long time, the balcony seating in the theatre was entirely filled with people. The students themselves believed their hard work paid off and Armin Panjwani—who played Caroline in “The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camedon”—said “for me, the process and experience was more enjoyable than the end result. I had so much fun working with a bunch of talented and hard-working people!”
James Phillips added: “I really enjoyed playing the maturing character of Charles and the eccentric, stereotyped character of the Britisher (being the britisher I am). It was exciting to see how my characters evolved as I got used to my roles and it was a privilege to perform with such skilled people.”
Audience members also expressed their praise exclaiming “the first one was interesting, and I really loved the idea of the doors, even though it took me a while to understand it. The third and second were my favourites!" and another commented "It was a full gambit of emotions!"
Overall, Moments in Time was a creative collection of plays that touched the audience and reminded them of the significant moments of life.