Have you ever written a play? I mean, really written a play. Maybe you’ve sat down and thought about it, but did you have the commitment to spend weeks or months working on lines, character development, mixing humor and dark sarcasm, while at the same time keeping set design, sound cues and lighting in mind? I’d say that few have.

And at Fairfield, those few are seniors Wendy Scola, Darci Fulcher, Jodie Pfau, Dan Scivoletti and Jared Mezzocch. This team of writers and directors scattered their leadership roles throughout the three completely different one-act plays in this year’s Theater Festval.

Mezzocchi, somehow right around the same time he finished filming a mind-blowing theater/film project, wrote the terribly honest and ultimately uplifting “Merry Christmas,” which was directed by Scola. Time in the play actually flowed in reverse. The opening scene showed an angry father screaming the truth about Santa to his young son on Christmas morning.

You slowly learn that it’s a legitimate backlash against his wife, who was sleeping loudly with the neighbor on Christmas Eve. But it’s all good, because the play ended with the family happy and the couple in love, all thanks to clever and careful usage of non-linear story telling.

Evan Barden ’08 and Elizabeth Thompson ’09 played an all-too believable married couple while Kira Gustafon ’10, and I mean no disrespect, played an excellent and completely adorable young boy. She almost became a human puppy – very fun to watch.

Thompson played a perfect tired-of-something, sneak-around wife. At the end of the play, which was actually the beginning of the story, it’s amazing to think that her seemingly pure character is capable of ruining Christmas. But then again, Barden’s character played a pretty big role in that, too.

Speaking of which, it’s important for all future casting teams to know that Barden, with the snap of anyone’s fingers, can go from insanely deranged to frighteningly angry and from depressed to maniacal. Then with another snap he can pull off a loving father willing to give up anything for his wife and child. If there’s a future play with Barden in it, go see it.

Scivoletti penned the brilliant and colorful supervillian comedy “Henchmen,” which was directed by Mezzocchi. It was funnier than what’s on TV and what’s in the theaters, combined. Think: Sarah Silverman Project, Zach Galifianakis, mid-nineties Ben Stiller and late-nineties Dane Cook. Scivoletti knows how to write.

They saved it for last in the line-up of the three, and when the set started to roll out, everyone was already laughing. It was like a movie set, complete with working vault doors, collapsible brick walls, a completely evil kitchen and a water cooler. The audience didn’t even know what to do when a red-bearded man, Jeremy Shea ’10, with a volcano strapped to his head named Lavabotomy walked into Green Baron’s office to interview for a sidekick job. Shea’s comedic timing alone would have saved the play, if it needed saving.

He didn’t get the job because Green Baron, Tony da Costa ’08, doesn’t like to kill people and Lavabotomy does. This caused for some insanely funny battle sequences, while Green Baron’s secretary packed up her desk and quit her job.

Everything was brightly colored, with dark lines, as if it were all drawn for a comic book. Scivoletti said, in a very “Hollywood Squares” kind of way, he was trying to “achieve world peace” with this play. The serious reason behind it was “comedy needs to have meaning.”

The audience not only carried their laughter pains out the door with them after “Henchmen” closed the evening’s plays, but many had no choice but to carry life lessons out with them too. Life lessons like, if you’re a super villain who wants to take over the world, it’s OK if you don’t want to kill anyone in the process. It’s virtues like this that can make you a more powerful tyrant, a more memorable character and a better friend to your annoyed secretary.

Pfau and Fulcher wrote and directed “Do You Realize?,” perhaps the most important of the three. It was a play about the dangers of relying too much on what other people think about you. And it didn’t come across as cheesy, don’t ask how they did it.

Conversations between the simply-dressed cast members included revealing exchanges between a punk-dressing son and his disappointed father, a soliloquy from an older sister to her younger sister about growing up and staying true to yourself no matter what TV and mean friends tell you. The play comes from a group on campus called “Project Peg,” which is trying to raise beauty awareness. The play held a wonderful message for anyone with a body: “Stop fixing it, it was never broken.”

Each playwright created from scratch, with the help of many friends/co-workers, some of the best and most original theater to have graced any stage, anywhere. To say the performances were impressive would be to sell them short. The performances were professionally shocking and ultimately inspiring to know the actors, crew and directors go to school here.

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