Centenary Theatre Program presents “The One-Act Play That Goes Wrong” November 11-14

SHREVEPORT, LA — Be prepared for everything to go wrong as the Centenary Theatre Program tackles The One-Act Play That Goes Wrong, a classic murder mystery dotted with missed lines, falling props, and countless other disasters. Centenary’s production of The One-Act Play, guest directed by Pia Wyatt, opens at the College’s Marjorie Lyons Playhouse on Thursday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m.

Additional 7:30 p.m. performances are November 12 and 13, with weekend matinees at 2:00 p.m. on both Saturday, November 13, and Sunday, November 14. Tickets are available at centenary.edu/mlptickets. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test within three days is required for attendance at all performances of The One-Act Play.

The play opens in familiar fashion, with an untimely death at a country manor where everyone is a suspect. In the hands of the accident-prone thespians of the Cornley Drama Society, however, nothing goes as planned. The One-Act Play That Goes Wrong is part of a comedy universe of “ridiculous escapism” created by the UK theater company Mischief, including the Tony Award-winning Broadway show The Play That Goes Wrong, the West End hit Peter Pan Goes Wrong, and the critically acclaimed TV series The Goes Wrong Show. The One-Act Play was written by Mischief members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields. Mischief produces work that is “serious about silliness,” a mantra that is on full display in The One-Act Play.

Pia Wyatt, professor of theatre and dance at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches and vice-chair for Region VI of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, returns for her second guest directing experience with the Centenary Theatre Program after last winter’s Incendiary. Wyatt is a professional educator, director, and choreographer who has worked extensively in Canada and the United States as well as internationally.

The One-Act Play features a cast and crew of Centenary students, including Dallas native Tucker P.J. Souther, whose character, Chris, is both the director of the play-within-the-play and the detective who is attempting to solve the mystery of that production’s namesake Murder at Haversham Manor.

“Navigating the meta structure of this show, to me, is akin to trying to steer a sailing ship out of a whirlpool, the whirlpool being the play and the ship being my character. Because the only way to get out of a whirlpool is by steering into its curve,” explained Souther. “Farces are, by nature, over the top and silly and this show is certainly no exception, however the actors must be able to draw the audience into the world of ‘the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s production of The Murder at Haversham Manor and past ‘Centenary Theatre Program’s The One-Act Play That Goes Wrong in order for the jokes to land.”

Souther, a senior theater major, has taken the “less is more” approach to his character, letting the farcical actions of the play “play themselves” and responding authentically to the compounding mishaps that cause endless hilarity for the audience but are a living nightmare for his character, Chris.

“My character only wants for this show to go right,” said Souther. “And that’s what I believe Mischief Theatre means by 'serious about silliness;' taking the show deadly serious from my character’s perspective, for the audience to laugh at. Someone told me once that comedy is just tragedy happening to someone else and I think that absolutely rings true for these characters.”

For more information about The One-Act Play That Goes Wrong and the Centenary Theatre Program, visit centenary.edu/theatre.


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