One stage. Three plays. Ten days.: Y.E.S. Festival showcases student talent

Three new plays will have their world premier in the 15th Biennial Y.E.S. Festival. Held every two years by the Northern Kentucky University Department of Theatre and Dance, the Year End Series Festival will be held at the Corbett Theater from April 7-17.

“Monstrous Beauty” by Karla Jennings, “One Good Turn” by Jacqueling T. Lynch and “Marfa, Texas, Based on an Almost True Story” by Kelly Kingston-Strayer. were selected to be featured from a pool of never before published or produced plays submitted for consideration, according to project director Sandra Forman.

“Monstrous Beauty” is a play that parallels the lives of Germans Marlene Dietrich and infamous documentary filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. While Riefenstahl remained in Germany and created the groundbreaking documentaries “Triumph of the Will” and “Olympia” for the Nazi party, Dietrich left Germany in the early 1930s, and refused to return as long as the Nazis were in power.

The quality of the character development in “Monstrous Beauty” is a source of pride for the play’s director.

“The character Leni – She is the ‘monstrous’ beauty of the title,” said Mike King, director of “Monstrous.” “Her energy, her drive, her ambition are fascinating; but then again and again, she makes these terrible choices about the ethics of what she does. It really examines the morality of the artist.”

“Marfa, Texas” is a story about a promoter, a woman and a small town. Directed by Mary Jo Beresford, “Marfa” is set in a desolate west Texas area “fifty miles away from the nearest highway.” according to the play’s promotional materials. Facing foreclosure, the owner of Hotel Del Rio, the only hotel in town, tries organizing a big party to attract tourists for the 25th anniversary of the filming of the blockbuster “Giant” in Marfa.

When Hollywood refuses to participate in the event, all seems lost. However, when a runaway bride who “slightly resembles Elizabeth Taylor” passes through town, the hotel owner comes up with a daring idea to save the event.

“One Good Turn” is a suspense drama dealing with the character of Martha Robertson, a graduating college valedictorian. Directed by Project Director Sandra Forman, the play revolves around the relationship between Martha and a woman she once saved from an assault.

As reporters delve into Martha’s past, dark secrets surface that “threaten more than just stirring up the past.”

When asked what audiences will take away from the series of plays, Forman said “it will depend on what each person brings to the play,” and that different people will bring different values to each of the shows they see.

“Monstrous Beauty” is showing from April 7 through April 16, “One Good Turn” runs from April 8 through April 17 and “Marfa, Texas” is on from April 9 through April 16. For show times, contact the NKU Theatre and Dance Department’s box office at 859-572-5464.

Story by Chuck Heffner