Review: Town Crier Speaks Festival XVII
There are some things that are immediately associated with October: Halloween, falling leaves, pumpkin-flavored everything, etc. But every year, October also brings the Town Crier Speaks Festival, and this year, the festival’s 17th, was the grandest, most varied incarnation of the festival I have ever seen.
This year’s festival included seven entirely student-written, -performed and -produced one-act plays, all written within the past few months. When asked about the scope of this year’s festival, junior Castor Kent, the producer of Town Crier and the president of the student-theatre club, Bare Bones Theatre Collective said, “I think this is one of the biggest festivals.”
Along with the number of plays performed at this year’s Town Crier, there was a great variety of stories and tones. “A really good mix of somber ones, comedies and dramedies,” Kent said.
The night began with the sincere and heartfelt “Ghosted,” the story of a girl and her ghost girlfriend. The night’s second play, “i am coming home” was an intense piece about someone dealing with the past traumas of their hometown through visions and the effects of a town’s past on its people.
The final two plays of the first act were “The Witch Monologues” and “Taking A Risk.” The former followed a young witch on their emotional journey to find a spell that might help them bring their sister back from the dead, taking momentary pauses from the narrative for the characters to offer their monologues to the audience. The latter, was a comedic game-night with a larger geopolitical discussion — the characters got the audience laughing as they played a convoluted Russian board game, each part of the game further emphasizing the superiority of the Communist philosophy and the weakness of American capitalism.
After a brief intermission, the audience happily sat down for another three fantastic one-act plays. The first play after the intermission, “Max and Emilia: A Staged Reading” was an adorable, nervous first-date story that smoothly incorporated an important conversation on asexuality.
The festival’s penultimate piece, “A Letter to My Sister,” was in my opinion, the emotional peak, or perhaps valley, of the show — a crushing and intimate reading of a letter they had written to their sister who had committed suicide.
The final act of the night, “Christmas,” was an entirely self-aware and meta telling of the story of a young man who had recently been diagnosed with cancer, and how that had affected not only his life but the life of his sister.
It is always heartening to see the creative work of your peers executed at such a high level. It is even more heartening to know that the heavily loved Town Crier Speaks Festival is entirely the project of students in our community who care deeply about the art that they are producing.
Year 17 of the Town Crier Speaks Festival was a great success. Who knows how they will top it in year 18. Now we must wait until next year, for another early October weekend, for all the joys of the fall to return, including the always wonderful Town Crier Speaks Festival.