USC Aiken’s University Theatre returns Thursday with the annual “Experimental Relief” production.
The program will debut at the Etherredge Center on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., followed by performances at the same time on Friday and Saturday and on Sunday at 2 p.m.
There is no admission fee; however, donations are encouraged with proceeds going to Helping Hands, the residential shelter for children in Aiken.
Each year’s production features five new or excerpted one-act plays, and all of them are directed and acted out by students.
Morgan Hall is acting in an unusual movement play of dance and is also directing “The Bachelorette,” a comedy written by student Shane Barber.
“It’s my first time as a director,” Hall said. “It takes place the morning of the wedding, and everything that could go wrong does.”
The other cast members are Jesse Sistare, Kelsie Blocker, Zakkiyya Vel’Ale and Sydney Fowler.
“I just wanted to write pure comedy,” Barber said. “Basically, I just wrote it, and everyone who’s seen it seems pleased.”
Barber is also directing “Rock Candy,” written by Quintin Williams.
It’s a murder mystery that begins after the one-year anniversary of death of one Harold Miller. But that day, the widow, Darlene, is found dead, and the mystery, of course, is who done it.
The cast includes Sistare once again, with Lauren Ellis, Kelsie Blocker, Tevin Reddick, Daniel Burkett and Alexander Newton.
But the audience won’t see Sistare long as Darlene.
“I’m the extra who gets killed,” she said cheerfully. “One short paragraph, and I’m gone.”
The dance piece is called “Little Red Riding Hood: The Movement.” Genny Brady choreographed the performance and also plays the wolf. Sydney Fowler portrays Little Red Riding Hood, and Hall is the Wood Woman.
“We really get to experiment,” said Fowler. “It’s something we don’t have readily available.”
Brady, a senior, usually works on the technical side of the University Theatre program.
“I’m a first-time director, and there are four different dance pieces and a fight scene at the end,” she said.
The other plays are as follows:
• “Breaking Bones” - written by David Hallman and directed by Quintin Williams. The cast is comprised of Alex Newton and Michael St. John.
• “Sordid Lives” - an excerpt from a 2000 film and later a play, originally written and directed by Del Shores. Barber and Lauren Ellis perform in the two-person act.
Hallman, who graduated last May, was well known for his humor, both in performing and writing.
“It’s hilarious, really comical,” St. John said of “Breaking Bones.”