Song, Dance and Theatre performed by students for Short Works Festival


Jess Jones(left) as Olivia and Megan Walters as Anne sit on a dead body and chat. Photo by Mason Saulsbury.

Alahnna Connolly, Staff Reporter

Scripts, designs, characters and staging, all completely organized by CWU students, brought the Short Works Festival to life last weekend. The festival was a three-day long event from Feb. 16 -18 and took almost a year to plan.

There were four student-written plays featured: “A Fine Upstanding Lad: A New Musical” written by Shawn Mulligan and Maverick McCarl, “The Maiden” written by Caelyn White, “Dream of the Butterfly” written by Miles Baker, “The Good, the Tired, the Hungry” written by Peter James and “Body Bag” written by Mason Saulsbury. 

The main festival creative team producers were Kathryn Stahl, Jason Tucholke and Lirit Pendell. 

Junior tourism and event major Keteya Woodfroff said, “I can’t wait to see more student led plays, the creativity was amazing and the plays were very unique.”

Mason Saulsbury, the scriptwriter for “Body Bag,” said she thinks it’s important for student run productions to be featured on campus.

“It’s a showcase of raw talent that the students here have, something that isn’t only a licensed work, but something that was built from the ground up from people that go here,” Saulsbury said.

Jason Tucholke, one of the producers of the events, said he thinks the Short Works Festival is important because it’s entirely student run.

“Each of the shows they do is important because it is produced, designed and directed by the students,” Tucholke said.

According to Tucholke, the performers had been rehearsing since the beginning of the quarter. 

According to Saulsbury, she didn’t do any theater productions until she came to CWU, and had only recently begun her work in CWU theater. Saulsbury said the experience of working with everyone else in her production was unique.

“It was really cool to see something I wrote turn into something I could watch,” Saulsbury said. “Being able to collaborate with such amazing people like Isacc, Jess, Megan and Elizabeth [was cool] as well.”

According to Saulsbury, who went to every showing of the festival over the weekend, the opening night turnout was good, and attendance for the other showings was also high. 

Featured performances

The first musical started with singing and dancing, and was called “A Fine Upstanding Lad: A New Musical” written by Shawn Mulligan and Maverick McCarl. It was set in 1910 and tells a story of a boy named Seamus and his friends as a campus hero with melodious tunes. 

Only the first half of the musical was shown at the festival due to time constraints. The full show will debut March 3-5, and tickets are already sold out. 

The second play, “The Maiden” by Caelyn White, is a story about Zeus, Demeter and the seasons spring and winter, and about how one of Zeus and Demeter’s children, Persephone, is tricked into eating fruit and spends six months in the underworld, and is released once summer arrives. Winter is when she has to be in the underworld.

Sophomore psychology major Marcus Williams said, “[The Maiden] is well written and played out by the actors, it had a good twist with the story as well.”

The third play, “Dream of the Butterfly” by Miles Baker, is a story within a story. It is a story about a one night stand between an upcoming writer and a woman he met in a bar. The next morning, she finds his journal and they start reading it. The journal contains a script he wrote. As they read it, the scene transitions between the events of the script and the two reading it in the scene and interjecting comments. 

The fourth play, “The Good, the Tired and the Hungry” by Peter James, is about a standoff between Ellensburg locals and CWU students going to the store trying to hide their identity with cowboy attire for fear of harassment and discrimination. The narrative is driven by one of the main characters needing to go to the grocery store to pick up her first ever prescription of hormones, while the threat of rodeo enjoyers are in town. 

The fifth play, “Body Bag,” written by Mason Saulsbury was a comedy about a woman who recently started her new job as an assassin and her friend who she hasn’t seen in a while. The two actors threw an oil executive in a river. There are scenes such as the two sitting on his body as if it were a couch, one of them practicing for an upcoming job interview with the body, and the two realizing when they throw the body in that he is still alive.

Tucholke wants students to know that anybody can be a part of the plays, they have open auditions for them and you do not need to be in the Theatre department.


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  • Photo by Mason Saulsbury

  • Photo by Mason Saulsbury

  • Photo by Mason Saulsbury

  • Photo by Mason Saulsbury

  • Photo by Mason Saulsbury

  • Photo by Mason Saulsbury.

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