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University News | Department of Theatre and Dance | One-Acts

UCM Theatre and Dance Presents Student Directed One-Acts ‘Cry Now, Laugh Later’

By Jeff Murphy, February 3, 2023



WARRENSBURG, MO – University of Central Missouri Theatre and Dance will present a weekend of repertory theatre with the collection of student-directed one-acts titled “Cry Now, Laugh Later.” Due to the length of the collection of these plays, the show has been split into two sets. The “Cry Now” set includes the one-act plays, “The Stonewater Rapture” by Doug Wright, “Do Over” by Arianna Rose, and “The Unknown Part of The Ocean” by Sheri Wilner and will be performed at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 and Feb. 11. The “Laugh Later” set will include the one-act plays “In a Darkroom, the Lord Knows” by C.E. Turnage and “Destiny is a Careless Waiter” by Julie Zaffarano, to be performed at 7 p.m. Feb. 10 and 2 p.m. Feb. 11.  All shows are in the Nickerson Black Box Theatre located on the first floor of Nickerson Hall. This collection of one-act plays is directed, designed, and performed by UCM students. 

“The Stonewater Rapture” is a play about two teens in the Bible belt of Texas. Carlyle, played by Emily Meehan, is an 18-year-old girl struggling to deal with her religious upbringing and the temptations of her new relationship, while her boyfriend, Whitney, played by Jake Collins, is pressuring her to take things further. Whitney is also dealing with bullying in school that Carlyle tries to help with to no avail. Whitney tries to deny there are any issues until Carlyle opens up about being assaulted at a party. Whitney tries to help her come to terms with the assault while she struggles with religious delusions. (Content Disclosure: this play includes sexual assault, homophobia, mentions of abortion, and religious trauma.) “The Stonewater Rapture” is written by Doug Wright and is directed by Ansley Walker, with technical direction by Kierra Kellum. 

“Do Over” is a play about a boy named Tyler, played by Finn Juliano, who stumbles into the U Drop Inn and is distraught to find that his earthly life is over. His mother Robin, played by Makenzie Lewis, visits him in his dreamscape. Brae, a bartender at the Inn played by Clair Groos, is dealing with pain from her past life that comes home to roost in Tyler’s story in a surprising manner. Lydia is a manager at the Inn and is played by Madeline Otero. All of these characters must follow the road to redemption in hopes they can all find the ability to forgive and move on. Content Disclosure: This play includes mentions of death. “Do Over” is written by Arianna Rose with direction by Owen Hopper with technical direction by Hollie Neumann.
“The Unknown Part of The Ocean” follows a mother, played by Alyna Mathews, who is struggling with terminal cancer, while her 8-year-old daughter, Sophie, played by Miranda Muenz, tries her best to understand and help her mother any way she can. (Content Disclosure: depiction of terminal cancer.) “The Unknown Part of the Ocean” is written by Sheri Wilner, directed by Lexi Winterbower, with technical direction by Luke Habjan.

“In a Dark Room, the Lord Knows” showcases two girls, Jak and Lucy, played by Hanna Wilson and Reagan Weber. The girls both attend a Christian school where they struggle to deal with the negative effects of purity culture. (Content Disclosure: cursing, sexual assault, partial nudity, lewd behavior, religious trama, and mentions of abortion.) “In the Dark Room, the Lord Knows” is written by C.E. Turnage, and directed by Tierra Buckner, with technical direction by Seth Sneary.

“Destiny is a Careless Waiter” is a farce written by Julie Zaffarano. Sean, played by Thomas Clark, invites Emily, Played by Shanna Sinnow, to dinner to propose marriage. He brings his grandmother’s engagement ring to the restaurant and instructs the server to place the ring in Emily’s dessert. Justin, played by Riley Given, invites Bria, portrayed by Meleena Johnson, to the same restaurant at the same time, planning to break up with her. When the engagement ring intended for Emily ends up in Bria’s dessert, the chaos begins. This show is directed by Jace Nielson with technical direction by Caleb Wands. 
The faculty advisors for this set of studio productions are Dr. Aaron Scully and Jamie Gresens. 

Tickets are $1 and are available at the door. There is limited seating in the Black Box Theatre so arriving early is highly encouraged. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m.  Parking is available in the Multipurpose Building parking lot. For additional information please contact Dr. Aaron Scully at


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