It’s the most festive season of the year, and we all know that can only mean one thing: holiday buffets. Whether it’s a neon-lit casino buffet or the refreshment table at the office Christmas party, we’re surrounded by an overwhelming assortment of tasty morsels to choose from. In the same spirit, the University of Nevada, Reno theater department presents Dramarama: The Annual Student Showcase.
Dramarama consists of 13 one-act plays, presented over four nights. Each evening’s program includes three or four short plays. The selections range from romantic comedies to suspenseful thrillers; though not student-written, the plays are performed and directed by students. The evening I went, the program included Pizza: A Love Story, Dying Light, Three Tables, and Sorry, Wrong Number.
Pizza: A Love Story, written by Julianne Bernstein and directed by Eric Jon Cadwell, is about a young lesbian couple teetering on the brink of marital commitment. Jamie (Danielle Redlin) believes she’s found her soulmate, but Janet (Casey Ann Bruington) isn’t sure she’s ready for marriage. When Jamie plans a romantic evening to propose, Janet panics and calls in the cavalry—including her sister and a pizza delivery girl—to run interference. Bruington’s frantic, comedic energy is a humorous foil to Redlin’s unruffled tranquility.
In Dying Light, written by Jason D. Martin and directed by Ben Onyx Dowdy, Tom (Clint Estell) and Jenny (Christy Fox) are teenage cancer patients who meet during radiation treatment. They fall in love and marry, but they face a terrible dilemma when Jenny’s pregnancy—and the return of her cancer—force them to choose between mother and child. Fox delivers a solid, sympathetic performance, evolving from a perky girl to a disillusioned woman beaten down by suffering.
Three Tables, written by Dan Remmes and directed by Ryan Palomo, follows three very different couples who are dining at the same restaurant. There’s a married couple celebrating an anniversary, a husband who refuses to sign the divorce papers his estranged wife has brought, and two strangers on a blind date. Over the course of their meal, each couple’s relationship unfolds, revealing that it’s not what it seems to be.
Sorry, Wrong Number, written by Lucille Fletcher and directed by Susan Lingelbach, is a classic noir. Mrs. Stevenson (Elizabeth Belcastro) is a high-strung, irritable invalid alone at home. Attempting to call her husband at his office, she inadvertently overhears another telephone conversation, in which two men discuss a murder to be carried out that very night. Her terror and helplessness grow as she becomes convinced that she is the intended victim. Teresa Rogina, playing multiple roles as various telephone operators, got plenty of laughs from the audience during this otherwise dark thriller.
The selection of plays changes every night, so there’s no telling what will be on your plate. But—like a good holiday buffet—you can be sure that you’ll get to sample plenty of different dishes, both sweet and spicy. And, since each night of Dramarama offers an entirely new program, you’re more than welcome to come back for seconds … or thirds … or fourths.