One Acts Create A Roller Coaster of Emotions

Madison Walley, Phyllis Schaefer, and Anna Diem act in “Questions,” a one-act play directed by senior Cristin Fries. The One Acts were performed in February.[/caption]

This February, the drama department performed their annual one act plays. The tradition has been going on for roughly ten years. They are all student directed and are a fun break from the normal work that drama creates.

There are exactly six One Acts that are ten to fifteen minutes long. They range from comedies to dramas to real world problems.

The One Acts are completely student run and they choose their groups as well as what they perform. “It’s a really unique experience and I hope that students gain an appreciation for responsibility,” said Theater Arts teacher John Wells.

The first one is called “Philadelphia.” It is about learning the ways of being in Philadelphia, how to talk to people, get what you want, and get by in life.

“Drugs are Bad” is about two parents that use reverse physiology to make their son a perfect kid. “Bagels and Donuts” shows a couple having a hard time figuring out what to eat for breakfast and leads to a harsh realization that they both want different lives but need each other.

Sophomores Jessica Kemon and Lily Takemoto starred in “La Mouche” with freshman Kat Blackwood. It’s about two French waiters that work at a restaurant where a customer finds a fly in her soup. All of the waiters are trying to kill the fly and the person who placed the fly in the soup.

Kemon is playing the role of a customer and Takemoto is playing Pierre, a waiter. “Our One Act is just a funny skit that we hope the audience will enjoy,” said Kemon. “Since there’s not a lot of people in it, you get really close with everyone.”

The students started preparing at the start of January. One struggle Takemoto faces when acting is keeping a straight face during the performance. Also, they have to make sure to be very loud so the audience can hear them throughout the auditorium.

Another One Act, “Unintended Video,” is about a woman who takes a video of a burn victim in the park and doesn’t realize his condition. She thinks he is hurt and goes back to have a conversation with him and learn more.

Sophomore Brighton Lieu plays Samuel, the burn victim, and sophomore Avery Abramson plays Clarissa, the woman.

This piece is very emotional and one of the deeper One Acts. “It has a lot of messages in it and it’s trying to express that you shouldn’t judge others based on how they look and as a person being judged, don’t judge other people harshly,” said Lieu.

The role was pretty emotionally taxing for Lieu compared to previous roles. “It’s definitely more of an acting challenge because this is actually someone’s life and so it’s hard to tap into that,” said Lieu. “Everyone experiences moments where they have to have awkward conversations about a deep topic that they don’t want to have, but are necessary.”

“Questions” was about three women who are friends. One of them did something bad and through the course of the play we figure out that she killed a man and stole from another girl.

Sandra and Mia were played by sophomores Phyllis Schaefer and Madi Walley and sophomore Anna Diem played the role of Rosie.

“The message I wanted to spread through this play was that you never know what someone is going through and it’s important to keep that in mind,” said senior Cristin Fries.

The tech theater class creates all the props used in the One Acts.

We have a costume collection that has been rapidly growing over the years, so we use those for our performances,” said Takemoto.

If students wish to direct a One Act, they can go to Wells and he chooses them. Students pick what play they would like and hold auditions after it has been approved. Most of them are in Theater Arts 3 or Theater Arts 4, while the actors are in Theater Arts 2 or Theater Arts 1.

The directors are in charge of prep including the set, lighting and props. “Directing is different from acting because you have to have a concept for the entire show,” said Fries. “With acting, you only have to focus on your character. [In directing,] you have to tell the actors where to move and how you want them to develop through the course of the show.”

Scheduling presented a challenge. “The whole process took less than two months,” said Fries, meaning students had to meet frequently to prepare their work. The directors are a key part of the One Acts because it’s their vision and actors are a component of their vision.

“The students take an idea and see it from start to finish and get to work with different people. “I think the students really appreciate these performances and once it’s over some will tell me it was their favorite experience in theater that they’ve ever had,” said Wells.