TOST and Turned plays entertain, raise money for charity

TOST and Turned, a nonprofit theater group made up entirely of students, performed three student-written and student-directed one-act plays over the weekend.

The event was held in Pratt Auditorium, where the group usually performs. The group is performing again Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. in Pratt Auditorium.

Performing for the sake of performance is not all that TOST and Turned has to offer, however. The group’s performances are free to attend, but donations are accepted at the door that benefit a local charity of the group’s choosing.

TOST and Turned’s Vice President Devin Gray (junior, mathematics and economics), who also wrote, directed and acted for this weekend’s performance, said the group prefers donating to local charities such as the Alice Paul House or Four Footed Friends as opposed to nationally recognized organizations like United Way or Goodwill.

“We like helping out the smaller charities because they might not get as much help as something like the Salvation Army,” Gray said.

Gray also said TOST and Turned’s performances are unique opportunities to experience theater for someone unfamiliar with staged performances.

“You can come out for free and donate if you want to, but you won’t end up having to pay $10 to see something you might not like,” he said.

Gray said TOST and Turned also provides a way for students who are interested in acting to perform without majoring in theater or dedicating huge amounts of time to more complex productions.

Mike Van Etten (freshman, natural science/pre-med), an actor in the third play of the afternoon, “Sibling Rivalry,” said TOST and Turned is an opportunity to express himself in a unique way.

“I like getting onstage and not being myself,” Van Etten said.

The performance lasted just under an hour and consisted of three plays.

Short skits written by Samantha Barnhart (freshman, English) were performed before and after each play.

The skits took place from the perspective of a group of typical household pets and served as comical breaths of air between the distinct plots of the three plays.

The first play – “’Til the Cows Come Home” written by Barnhart – was a humorous take on misplaced identity where a man who has recently lost his job and his girlfriend assumes the identity of a bovine named Ishtan Bull through method acting.

The second play, called“Heightened Expectations” and written by Gray, took place in a doctor’s office and focused on a failed M.D., his blind secretary and his attempt to provide adequate care to an injured football player with limited knowledge of medicine.

“Sibling Rivalry,” the third and final play, was also written by Gray and is centered on two dueling beings, implied to be a devil and an angel, who meddle in a romantic moment between two mortals. Needless to say, high jinks ensue.

All of the afternoon’s performances were light, comical and fun. Next weekend, “The Abridged San Francisco Trilogy,” another student-written/directed play, written by Ian Bright (sophomore, mathematics) will also be performed.

The group is open to new membership from any IUP student, with auditions taking place at the beginning of each semester. TOST and Turned also accepts script submissions from any student.