Saint Martin’s students take director’s chair for performance of one-act plays

October 31, 2011

Lacey, Washington — A production of one-act plays that shed a humorous light on the power games people play will mark the directorial debut of three Saint Martin’s University students. The performances, presented by the Saint Martin’s Department of Theatre Arts, will be at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 16-19, and at 2 p.m., Nov. 20, at the University’s Kreielsheimer Arts Building, 5000 Abbey Way SE, Lacey, Washington, 98503.

Tickets, sold at the door prior to each performance, are $12 for general admission, $7 for students, seniors and the military. The Nov. 16 performance is pay-what-you-will. No reservations are necessary.

Each evening of one-act plays gives three accomplished Saint Martin’s acting veterans majoring in theatre arts—senior Taylor Simpson of Rainier, junior Olivia Baumgartner of Renton and senior Jackie Nordquist of Longview—an opportunity to polish their skills on the other side of the footlights, says Professor David Hlavsa, who directs the University’s theatre arts program. Hlavsa says that by happenstance, the plays chosen independently by the students share a common thread: power games in intimate relationships.

“Although each play is written in a distinct style, they’re all funny in an edgy kind of way,” says Hlavsa. “They get at certain truths in our relationships we don’t always admit to—so you laugh, but you cringe a little bit, too.”

The evening begins with A.A. Milne’s “The Ugly Duckling,” directed by Simpson. Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale of the same name, Milne’s play is about a plain-Jane princess cursed—some would say blessed—by her godmother to be loved only for herself, not for beauty. In a comedy of mistaken identities, the king decides that his daughter and her lovely maid should change places when it’s time to meet the prince. However, the nervous prince also has sent an imposter.

In Elaine May’s play, “The Way of All Fish,” directed by Baumgartner, tables get turned in an exchange between a self-absorbed executive and her drab secretary. “The Way of All Fish” is a darkly hilarious exchange between two women over wine and take-out, culminating in a push-up contest, Baumgartner explains.

Nordquist directs the final plays, Steven Dietz’s “Left to Right” and Tracey Scott Wilson’s “Small World.” In “Left to Right,” four people try to figure out who knows what about their friendships, partnerships and sexual liaisons. “Small World” centers around the unexpected interconnections that emerge as six people go on three different blind dates simultaneously.

“The plays I am directing throw the audience a glimpse of the true behavior of everyday people, the parts of themselves they don’t like to openly admit,” says Nordquist. “Human nature is a fascinating thing and I am excited to share this same fascination with those who come to see our show.”

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, coeducational university located on a 380-acre wooded campus in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 21 majors and six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,250 students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main campus, and 650 more to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Everett College, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at

For more information:

David Hlavsa
Professor of theatre arts
Saint Martin’s University

Jennifer Fellinger
Vice president for marketing and communications
Saint Martin’s University