Fall classes lead to Spring Inspirations; Students write, direct plays in 2013-14 Lane theater finale

Kory Phillips and Aaron Frederickson perform An Unnamed Chess Play at Spring Inspirations on May 22.Photo: August Frank

Kory Phillips and Aaron Frederickson perform An Unnamed Chess Play at Spring Inspirations on May 22.
Photo: August Frank

Lane students took over the stage at the Blue Door Theatre May 22 to May 24 to present plays written and directed by students in the annual Spring Inspirations.

Once per year, student-writers submit their work for the opportunity to have their creations acted out on stage. The show is completely student-designed down to lighting, costumes, props and stage direction.

This year four shows were chosen: Dating Outside Your Light Cone, written by Tim O’Donnell; How Does it Feel?, written by Stefanie Anderson; Who’s Looking, written by Sylvie Paterson; and An Unnamed Chess Play, written by Gabe Dresser.

O’Donnell attended Lane in the fall and transferred to the University of Oregon, but came back to direct his show, as well as How Does it Feel? The two pieces vary in content, but both stories explore character relationships.

“It begins with a grain of something I like,” O’Donnell said. “It could be something paranormal, UFOs or fringe science … . Then it’s the relationships.”

Emerald Henderson was stage director for Dating Outside Your Light Cone, which was read from scripts on blue stands instead of being acted out. Actors Heather Bohn, as Annette, and Jacob Johnson, as James, successfully brought the audience into their relationship. The two characters discuss the realities of dating while also dealing with the complexities of time travelling. Imagine bickering with a loved one through time and space.

In How Does it Feel?, with stage direction by Emerald Henderson, a family deals with an absent father who finally returned 10 years after walking out. Omar Alaniz played John, the absent father; Ashley Clark played the daughter Rosie, and Caitlin King captured the distraught state of the mother, Susan. Upon arrival, John finds an outraged grown daughter and the shell of a mother who was severely injured in a drunken driving incident. The piece is heavy and real.

With no previous acting experience, Alaniz decided to go in for a cold reading after receiving an email about auditions. He was cast as John.

“I’ve been told I have a good stage presence,” Alaniz said. “I thought it would be a good opportunity to grow.”

Who’s Looking was an Orwellian take on what dating looks like in a future when every moment goes viral. Stefanie Anderson plays Zoe, a selfie-obsessed woman hooked on a culture based on posting every aspect of life, including sex. Cash McAllister plays Matt, Zoe’s boyfriend, who is not enthused by the drone outside the apartment window or the need to post his intimate relations online for all to see. The play hits too close to the truth as the couple spat about what should and shouldn’t be posted for all to scrutinize.

An Unnamed Chess Play, directed by Anna Parks, centers around two male characters, Kory Phillips as Blake and Aaron Frederickson as Jonathan, playing a game of chess. Conversation turns serious when a character drops that he has cancer and may not make it.

Next year Spring Inspirations will try something new with more community outreach and by enticing younger writers to participate. David Trussell, president of the Student Productions Association, said this year was a bit hectic, and next year will be more inclusive. Writers from the Eugene community, including Lane high school students, will be invited to participate.

The event is tentatively planned for Winter 2015.

Stephanie Anderson performs in the play Who’s Looking at Spring Inspirations on May 22.Photo: August Frank

Stephanie Anderson performs in the play Who’s Looking at Spring
Inspirations on May 22.
Photo: August Frank