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Murder plot finishes out ‘Comedies in Concert’

Saturday, July 26, 2008 | 6:53 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA - So far, a set of comedies performed in concert format at MU's Corner Playhouse has played to sold-out houses and been followed by some useful feedback from the audience.

"One by One," the final of the three "Comedies in Concert," will be performed Tuesday. Actors, selected from open auditions earlier this year, will spend the day getting ready for it.

IF YOU GO

“One by One” is sold out. However, people can get their names on a waiting list by showing up early for the 8 p.m. Tuesd"One by One" is sold out. However, people can get their names on a waiting list by showing up early for the 8 p.m. Tuesday performance at the Corner Playhouse at the intersection of Hitt Street and University Avenue.ay performance at the Corner Playhouse at the intersection of Hitt Street and University Avenue.



Written by Michael Kramer, "One by One" is a play within a play in which members of the company are killed off one by one; a surprise ending is promised. Series director David Crespy chose the three comedies from a number of ideas presented at the Missouri Playwrights Workshop.

The other two comedies, "Listen" by Kathrine Varnes and "Heigh Ho, Skelter!" by Ron Zank, were performed on previous Tuesdays. This is the first time these plays have been performed, and the goal is to have the audience take part in refining the scripts by discussing the play with the playwright after its performance.

Kramer, who is chairman of the communication department at MU, wrote "One by One" in the spring of 2006 over about two months and has worked on it a number of times since.

"It's based on some personal experiences in community theater," Kramer said. "It was kind of a way to weave some different people that I met and some typical people in community theater into a play." It will be performed by eight actors who are students, faculty and community members.

"I think watching the actors perform is the most fun for me," Kramer said. "The next best is getting the audience reaction. It could be the worst part, too - revising is never fun."

The plays are performed in concert format, which means there are minimal costumes and lighting, and the actors read from concert stands.

"The typical play in full production is rehearsed for four weeks," Crespy said. "We rehearse these concert readings in exactly six hours; three hours for the initial read-through, and then I stage the piece in the second three-hour segment."

There is really no time to practice the technical aspects, and the lighting and sounds cues are done on the spot, Crespy said. "It's pretty insane, but it usually turns out pretty funny."


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