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Students directing students: 4 nights of one-act plays at McDaniel College

Patsy Zetkulic, from left, Zack Callis and Kendall Harnsberger are the McDaniel College students directing one-act plays in the Student-Directed Play Festival, which will be presented Wednesday through Saturday at the college. Last row, from left, includes McDaniel student actors Mara Flynn, Imani Jackson, Matthew Zwick, Kevin Tyson, TJ Rigg, Becca MacDonald, James Fagan, Matt Foley, Sophia Gilbart, Nicholle D’Anna and Darrick Rowe.
Patsy Zetkulic, from left, Zack Callis and Kendall Harnsberger are the McDaniel College students directing one-act plays in the Student-Directed Play Festival, which will be presented Wednesday through Saturday at the college. Last row, from left, includes McDaniel student actors Mara Flynn, Imani Jackson, Matthew Zwick, Kevin Tyson, TJ Rigg, Becca MacDonald, James Fagan, Matt Foley, Sophia Gilbart, Nicholle D’Anna and Darrick Rowe. (Courtesy McDaniel College)

A student-directed play festival, presented by McDaniel College’s Theatre Arts Department, will be showcased Wednesday through Saturday at the Dorothy Elderdice Studio Theatre in WMC Alumni Hall.

Each of three one-act plays will be performed each night, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

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Zack Callis, a junior from Damascus, directs “Fire Exit,” which is written by Stacie Lents and opens in the aftermath of a fire, as the community faces what appears to be a prank gone terribly wrong. The cast of “Fire Exit” consists of McDaniel students James Fagan, Alex Fondersmith, Amanda Halcott, Becca MacDonald, TJ Rigg, Kevin Tyson and Maya Williams.

From left, T.J. Rigg, Kevin Tyson and Maya Williams perform in a dress rehearsal of "Fire Exit," of the plays in the Student Directed Play Festival at McDaniel College in Westminster Tuesday, March 3, 2020.
From left, T.J. Rigg, Kevin Tyson and Maya Williams perform in a dress rehearsal of "Fire Exit," of the plays in the Student Directed Play Festival at McDaniel College in Westminster Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (Dylan Slagle/Carroll County Times)

“It is an important story that reminds us to never judge a book by its cover and to never make assumptions about what we think we know,” Callis said in a news release from McDaniel. "I chose this show because I knew it would challenge me as a director and challenge the cast and production team.”

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Kendall Harnsberger, a senior from Baltimore, directs “After Happily,” which is written by Dennis Bush, is inspired by fairy tales and weaves together the stories of seven characters as they pursue what they believe will bring them perfect happiness. The cast of “After Happily” includes McDaniel students Allisa Baker, Nicholle D’Anna, Matt Foley, Sophia Gilbart, Darrick Rowe, Kevin Tyson and Corey van Huff.

“I chose this show because it’s one of those shows where, yes, it’s not completely realistic, but the situations and the struggles that characters go through are real,” Harnsberger said via the release. “I hope that some in the audience will realize that they aren’t alone in their own singular story.”

Sophia Gilbart, left, plays Talia in a dress rehearsal of "After Happily," one of the plays in the Student Directed Play Festival at McDaniel College in Westminster Tuesday, March 3, 2020.
Sophia Gilbart, left, plays Talia in a dress rehearsal of "After Happily," one of the plays in the Student Directed Play Festival at McDaniel College in Westminster Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (Dylan Slagle/Carroll County Times)

And Patsy Zetkulic, a senior from Arlington, Virginia, directs “The Grass is Greenest at the Houston Astrodome,” which is written by Michael Ross Albert and examines the relationships between a group of emerging artists when a painter tears the artwork off the walls of a struggling independent gallery. The cast consists of McDaniel students Mara Flynn, Amanda Halcot, Imani Jackson, Corey Van Huff and Matt Zwick.

“I’m very excited to be able to direct a play this semester so that I can take all that I’ve learned as a theatre arts major and use it to lead a production," Zetkulic said in the release. "This play in particular interested me because of its focus on what art can be and how artists relate to the world, all while being one of the funniest plays I’ve ever read!”

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The performances are free and open to the public. For more information, call the box office at 410-857-2448.

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