The student-produced “One Act Play Festival” occurred Jan. 19, 20 and 21 and showcased the abilities of this school’s brightest and most gifted actors and directors. “I observed rehearsals and worked with the directors,” the festival’s sponsor, Drama and English teacher Jessica Speck said. “But for the most part, the students were the ones who create the productions.”
One Acts are exactly what they sound like; small, short one act plays, chosen and perfected by the student directors themselves. From scene subjects ranging from silly librarian job interviews to living with disabilities, the “One Act” Festival had something for everyone, even those who aren’t too keen about the stage.
While the One Acts were entertaining and fun for everyone involved to produce, they held serious weight for the students’ GPAs. Stage designer of one of the plays, All in the Timing, and junior Janel Berlinger said, “It’s the final project for the Play Directing and Stage Design class, and every person is paired with someone in the [acting] class.”
Although one act doesn’t seem like much to produce, students put in lots of time and effort put into making the shows as spectacular as possible, especially those behind the scenes. “The stage designers design the sets, build the sets, design the lights, and the sound design as well,” Berlinger said.
The process begins in October, with the deadline for the director’s play selection occurring. The following month in November, auditions are held to cast the actors and the next six weeks are constant rehearsals in order to ensure the best possible outcome. “The two to three month time frame gives the students enough time to make their One Acts the best they can be,” Speck said.
Those in the acting class need to be just as involved, since their bond with their director dictates the success of the project as a whole. “The directors choose the play and get their actors in order to be able to complete the play,” stage designer of The Father Clock and junior Bradley Udwin said.
While all of the One Acts displayed talent from everyone who worked on them, a standout was All in the Timing, a dual One Act directed by senior Rebecca Korn. All in the Timing consisted of two smaller plays, Sure Thing and Universal Language, both of which were impeccably executed. Sure Thing, acted by junior Cheryl Goodman and senior Jeffrey Grant, told the short story of two strangers meeting in a coffee shop on a rainy night. Seems like a simple plot but, the twist reveals that every time a “wrong move” was made, the scene essentially restarted, adding a sense of unpredictability to the play. Universal Language was just as interesting, following Don, played by freshman Aidan Wilbur, and Dawn, played by junior Abby Batkhan, in their quest to make a universal language. The chemistry between the two actors was palpable and the set design impressively encapsulated the scene.
The festival happens every two years as the prerequisite play directing class is only taught on a biannual schedule.