Opening between Thursday, Oct. 12 and Sunday, Oct. 16, the Donn B. Murphy One Acts Festival boasts two entirely student-written, produced and acted works: “Peaches and Freon: A Musical” and “#Courage.”

Though they cover completely unrelated topics, the two productions complement each other well. The former eases the viewer into the night with a cleverly written and energetically performed musical, outlining the life’s work of two playwrights who are deemed sellouts by true connoisseurs of the profession. It is a wild and at times raunchy ride, not to mention laugh-out-loud funny. Once the audience leaves the suspended reality of the Old Freon Factory theater — the setting of a play within the play — its members emerge into the minimalist set of “#Courage,” a collage-style play that compels its viewers to analyze the relevance of social media in their lives and its effects on political activism. These two original works create a pleasant dichotomy for a memorable night of student theater.

When entering the small venue of Poulton Hall for “Peaches,” the viewer is confronted with a series of playbills on the wall with absurd titles such as “Abortion Contortion: A Prenatal Murder Mystery.” Each shocking poster merits a chuckle and is also a strong indicator of the nature of the performance to come.

“The process didn’t start with a thesis — we had just spent a month competing to see who could write the worst lyric and for some reason thought we might be able to string the result into a narrative,” explains Ryan Dull (COL ’12), describing the creative process he shared with fellow playwright Michael Franch (SFS ’12 “Peaches'” charm does not lie in its purposefully minimal plot, but rather in the cleverness of its script and the talent of its cast.

Betsy Helmer (COL ’13) plays a disgruntled MC who is forced to host a show in the very same theater that “bumped” her own play years before. She brings a natural snark to her interviews with the writing and composing duo she interviews, David and Moonglow, played by Greg Brew (GRD ’13) and Adrian Prado (COL ’14), respectively. Supported by a talented ensemble, the three characters lead the audience through a series of absurd and un-P.C. song parodies .

When asked what the hope for their musical was, the writers responded that they were seeking to bring back the love of musical theater at Georgetown that they felt died with Calliope, a yearly set of student-written musicals founded by Donn B. Murphy himself. The first student-written musical to be performed at Georgetown in 40 years, “Peaches” sets a hilarious precedent for a tradition that has hopefully been revived.

“#Courage,” written and directed by Swedian Lie (COL ’13), begins with the entire cast on stage stating various definitions of “courage,” ranging from Mark Twain’s famous quotation about “mastery of fear” to tweets from real-life Twitter users. The enigmatic introduction unfolds a play that divides itself into abstract sections, all with titles beginning with a hashtag.

The most memorable “#scenes” include a wry dialogue between a personified Facebook (Victoria Glock-Molloy [GRD ’13]) and Twitter (Katie Mitchell [SFS ’15]). A literal, intellectual boxing match takes place for arguing the pros and cons of social networks as a medium of political protest. An emotional monologue performed by Addison Williams (COL ’14) describes the murder of an actual Egyptian teen named Khaled Saeed on June 6, 2010. The play also makes clear that Saeed is significant because of his vast following on Facebook and Twitter, though, tragically, there are many more like him that remain unknown.

“#Courage’s” crew makes excellent use of special effects, including digital backdrops coordinated with the script itself and jarring sound effects such as gunshots to ensure that viewers are fully invested in the play. Food is even distributed at one point, but when individual audience members are targeted for their reactions to the handout, they understand the bread is more than just a mid-performance snack.

Lie acknowledges his delay in tackling issues like the Egyptian revolution, but he explains that the message is completely current in the way that political activism and social justice are addressed through the blurry, limited lens of social media.

The complementary duo of student-written works reaches out to the audience, causing its spectators to question their own conception of art via “Peaches” and also to analyze the way social media impacts our lives.” The Donn B. Murphy One Acts Festival is not to be missed; it provides a night of uproarious laughter and time for self-reflection all in one night.

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