Apocalypse and short scripts: E-52’s SAST one-acts give student writing a stage
Jesus Christ runs a marathon to make sure no one else comes in last; a jellyfish, a shark and a squid team up to stop humans; two directors jump out of the audience, both claiming the show being performed is their own.
This fall, E-52, a student theater group, has worked to put on their 15th production of Short Attention Span Theater, or SAST, a series of themed, student-written and -directed one-acts. Since 2005, E-52 has put out a call for student actors, writers and directors to bring their original work to the stage.
With only one month between auditions and production, students can dabble in the theater scene with a lesser time commitment than normal productions.
“This cast, people come in, they don’t know what their roles are,” Jessica Selle, a junior and writer and director, says. “They don’t know what exactly SAST is, but then they bond just, like, over getting to know each other and working together on these student-run projects.”
This year’s theme, “The SAST of Us,” forced the one-acts to toy with their interpretation of the apocalypse, whether that be nuclear fallout or the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012.
The production featured six one-acts of varying lengths, most centered around the theme, and all filled with a lighthearted quality that resonated with the low budgeting. Despite minimal props, the perfected costumes and wholesome, minimalistic set garnered intimacy and connection with the characters, especially when some of those characters interacted with the audience themselves.
“SAST is special because it’s very personal,” Selle says. “A lot of other shows, they’re professionally written, and people are kind of scared to make changes. But with SAST, it’s all student written, and it’s a lot of working together.”
The night opened with a one-act directed by Kevin Johnson, “ApocoLIPS Now,” which featured two young adults facing the horrors of the post-apocalyptic world, and the dread of not yet having a first kiss.
Other shows included the performance “St. Jared,” directed by Bradley Leifheit, which considered a societal downfall in 2020, in which works of charity are considered old-fashioned miracles, and everyone spends their time distracting themselves from the terrors of reality. Thy do so even if it means blindly following hipster Jesus.
For those in need of a lighthearted reminder of impending doom, and the doomsdays of days-past, SAST provided a lively, playful distraction.
As SAST comes to a close this weekend, E-52 prepares for their two upcoming performances: “A Doll’s House,” which runs Oct 12-14, and 1984, which runs Nov 4-6 and again Nov 8-10.