Friday, April 13, 2012

First high school play for KCKCC One-Act Festival April 19-22

For the first time in the 13-year history of the Original Student One-Act Play Festival at Kansas City Kansas Community College, a play written by a high school student will be performed.

One of three plays to be performed Thursday through Sunday in KCKCC’s Performing Arts Center on the campus at 7250 State Avenue, “Life is an 8-Bit Theatre” was written by Thomas Crowder, a senior at Washington High School who will be attending the University of Kansas next fall majoring in literature.

The other one-act plays to be performed are “Pastry Balls” written by Vicki Wendt and directed by Brandy Hoover; and “Chinese Helium,” written by Brandon Durkes and directed by Vicki Wendt. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 19-22. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens.    

“With our involvement with Washington High School this semester, we encouraged their Theatre Appreciation students to submit original one-act plays they had written for consideration and we selected ‘Life is an 8-Bit Theatre’ written by senior Thomas Crowder,” said Dr. Charles Leader, Director of the KCKCC Theatre program. “It’s a live-action video game and will be directed by one of our theatre majors, Brandon Durkes.”      

Life is an 8-Bit Theatre” takes a look at life inside a Dungeons and Dragons Fantasy-type video game where a wrong move has no do-overs. “Its old school Nintendo adventure games framed inside a video game with lots of flashing lights, wizards and knights – a tongue in cheek homage that’s more funny than serious,” says Durkes.

The cast includes Nathan Mortensen, Robert Dulle II, Brandy Hoover, J. Benjamin Wood, Charles Humphrey Jr., Sharell Hall and Fred Rucker.

Durkes’ original one-act play, “Chinese Helium,” which will be directed by Vicki Wendt, is a satirical look at the corporate greed, dirty dealings and double crosses that are buried underneath the world of big business.

A 2005 graduate of Topeka High School, Durkes has written one-act plays in each of the last three years and also directed KCKCC’s production of “Radio Talk.” A performer in several KCKCC productions, he will be completing his BFA program in Theatre and Acting at Missouri State this fall.

The cast for “Chinese Helium” is made up of Robert Dulle II, Shalita Durham, Sharell Hall, Chris Donte Benson, Andrew Roberson, Fred Rucker and Nathan Mortensen.

Vicki Wendt’s “Pastry Balls” will open the performances. Inspired by the Food Network, a young woman attempts to impress her boyfriend with her culinary skills while keeping her roommates at bay. A current KCKCC student completing an Associate in Business, Wendt recently graduated from UMKC with a BLA and a minor in theater.

Her director, Brandy Hoover, is a graduate of Bonner Springs High School. A theater major, she’s President of the Drama Club, a Student Senate representative and theater office assistant and has performed in nine KCKCC productions.

Cast members are Shalita Durham, Sharell Hall, Vicky Hoover and Christ Donte Benson.


PHOTO: Written by Washington High School senior Thomas Crowder (right) and directed by KCKCC theatre major Brandon Durkes, “Life is an 8-Bit Theatre” is the first play written by a high school student in the 13-year history of the Original One-Act Play Festival at KCKCC Thursday through Sunday, April 19-22. (KCKCC Photo by Dr. Charles Leader)