Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society will be presenting “Crazy Like Love: An Evening of Two One-Act Plays” Friday through Sunday in Bliss Hall’s Spotlight Arena Theater.
The production of “Crazy Like Love” is run, directed, designed and acted by students and includes performances of “Gendermat,” by Mark Dunn and “The New Mrs. Jones” by James Armstrong. Each play has the same cast of four actors: Cameron Beebe, Lee Beitzel, John Cruz and Theresa Leonard.
Beitzel, who plays the character Frances in “Gendermat,” said she became interested in theater by her friends encouraging her to audition. The show will be her first performance as an actress rather than dancer. She said the new experience was interesting.
“I have been performing my whole life through dance, so it was nice to change scenes for a second. It is a whole new way of expressing yourself,” Beitzel said. “Everything that is in the arts is about expression that can be carried throughout the rest of life.”
When getting into character, Beitzel tends to draw from her own personal experiences. She said the first play was very relatable and that for the second, she relates her character to someone that she has seen in a show.
Cruz, a theater major, said it was no surprise that he got into theater; he’s been acting since the third grade. He said that putting on a play is a really fun journey and that he loves doing comedies because he gets to be really big in terms of his stage persona.
“Putting on the performance is my favorite part because you get to affect someone in some way, whether you make them laugh or think,” he said. “Anyone who comes to watch theater leaves not a changed person, but there is something different, and that is cool.”
While both plays demonstrate a thorough line of love, there are dark or sorrowful aspects to each.
“Gendermat,” directed by Joseph Alvey, will focus on the same couple and the same conversation, but the genders of the characters will rotate through out the play. The opening scene begins in the basement laundry room of an apartment complex. Four actors will be stepping in and out of their roles to create the story of four break ups.
In “The New Mrs. Jones,” Sam Jones, a 28-year-old accountant who still lives with his mother, has met the woman of his dreams. Before the couple can announce their marriage, they need the blessing of Mrs. Jones — who has been known for killing Sam’s previous girlfriends.
While getting into character for “The New Mrs. Jones,” Cruz found it a bit more of a difficult process due to the obnoxious personality of his role, Sam. However, he said he enjoyed diving down to find the different traits of Sam that he himself didn’t possess.
Brittney Grant, director of the play “The New Mrs. Jones,” said her favorite part of directing is helping to create a magical experience for the audience. She said she also enjoys working with her cast and crew.
“The best part is knowing you have help and you’re not alone in this crazy process that tends to be stressful. Also, it’s really nice experiencing the camaraderie and the collaboration that happens when you put together a show as students wanting to grow and learn together,” Grant said.
The cast has been preparing for “Crazy Like Love” since February, while the crew has been preparing since last semester. Cruz said there is something completely gratifying about the applause at the end of the shows.
“You put in all this work and when you hear the applause, it’s like, ‘Ah, yes — I can breathe,’” he said.
Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $5 and can be bought at the University Box office. Parking will be available in the Wick Avenue deck for a fee.