Out of the Box: One-Act Festival

Three separate performances, one act each, and a room full of laughs, gasps, and more. 

Running Dog Productions put on its winter show, “Out of the Box: One-Act Festival” at “The Key”, Stone Bridge’s black box theater. The show featured three performances: “Cards of Fate”, “Trifles”, and “Hook, Line, and Sink Her”. From a dark comedy, to an old-timey drama, to an galactic giggle-fest, the show had a bit of everything. 

The first act, “Cards of Fate”, is a dark comedy piece directed by seniors Andrew Michael and  Riley Seppings. The show starts as a contestant (Cori Teel) is brought up to the stage and introduced to the game. Before the contestant, a live scene will play out, when it pauses the contestant will be asked a random trivia question, their answer will determine the fate of those in the scene.

The game starts innocently, but as it progresses, the outcomes of each show question become further demented, eventually reaching the point of life or death. As the game comes to an end, the contestant is faced with a final choice between their life or the life of a child with cancer–then the curtains close. 

“Cards of Fate was a fun thing to co-direct,” Michael said. “I’m a huge fan of movies and books. where things just get so much worse as time goes on. The events of the play can feel like a nightmare and trying to fit that tone within a comedy was challenging, but in a good way.”

After the stirring conclusion of “Cards of Fate”, a short break took place to rearrange the stage in preparation for the next act, “Trifles”, written by Susan Glaspbell in the early 1900s and directed by theater teacher Caroline Marks. 

Believe it or not, ‘Trifles’ was the first drama I have directed with high school students,” Ms. Marks said. “I selected the piece because I studied it in college and was always fascinated by the idea of women at the turn of the century in America, before they had voting rights, inhabiting a world of their very own.”

“Trifles” is a murder mystery that follows the thoughts and concerns of women from a town as men from the same town investigate one of the woman’s peers for the murder of her husband. Ms. Marks and the cast of “Trifles” will be taking this tear-jerking performance to compete at the VHSL Regional performance at Riverside High School on Feb. 5. 

My actors and technicians dove deep into the text to find answers to design and acting questions, and it was inspiring to watch them figure it out,” Ms. Marks said. “The first time I saw everyone in costume, with lights and set, run through the show, it was very emotional. All of the pieces of the puzzle came together to create a very moving piece.”

The first time I saw everyone in costume, with lights and set, run through the show, it was very emotional. All of the pieces of the puzzle came together to create a very moving piece.”

— Caroline Marks

After an emotional performance from the cast of “Trifles”, the stage was set for the last act, a student-written and directed comedy by the name of “Hook, Line, and Sink Her”. Cast from the mind of junior Sofia Stanziola, the lighthearted comedy made for a well-rounded finish to the night with its mix of fun music, comedic quips, and colorful costumes. 

“Hook, Line, and Sink Her” follows the story of a family, a son, and a dynamic duo as they face an extraterrestrial incident in three different fashions. Together, the soundtrack, the props, and the lighting brought the otherworldly feel to each scene, even those designed to be more mundane. 

“I really enjoyed the whole ambiance of the production as a whole,” Stanziola said. “[The production team and I] often found ourselves listening to the soundtrack playlist while decorating the set and picking out vintage inspired costumes.”

Directors, actors, and audience alike found fun in the winter one-act show. Between the bouncing genres and quick-switching sets, the ever-changing environment wove together an extraordinary and cohesive night of entertainment for all. 

“I think the most memorable part was just bonding with my cast mates,” senior Cori Teel said. “This was such a fun experience and I am going to miss it so much.”