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Flint Hill students shine brightly as they direct and produce their own one-act plays

Freshman+Jansi+Patel%2C+sophomore+Hannah+Yasmin+Khan%2C+Kramer%2C+sophomore+Sebastian+Van+Der+Weide%2C+and+freshman+Calvin+Lucido+revel+in+the+applause.+
Freshman Jansi Patel, sophomore Hannah Yasmin Khan, Kramer, sophomore Sebastian Van Der Weide, and freshman Calvin Lucido revel in the applause.

Freshman Jansi Patel, sophomore Hannah Yasmin Khan, Kramer, sophomore Sebastian Van Der Weide, and freshman Calvin Lucido revel in the applause.

Photo Credit: Sebastian Aguilar

Photo Credit: Sebastian Aguilar

Freshman Jansi Patel, sophomore Hannah Yasmin Khan, Kramer, sophomore Sebastian Van Der Weide, and freshman Calvin Lucido revel in the applause.

By Kamryn Olds, Arts Editor

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On Friday, March 3, three one-act plays were performed in Flint Hill’s Upper School Learning Commons. The first, Big Box, told the story of a man, a box, and the power struggle between them that ultimately would yield only one victor. The second, Sure Thing, detailed the entire evolution of a relationship between a man and woman as it is pushed forward by the consistent ringing of a bell. And, the third, Bad Auditions by Bad Actors, was a comedic take on the theater business and the many different ways in which a scene can be misinterpreted. Still, with these various unique premises, all of these plays shared one important similarity: each one was student directed.

Of course, this is not the first time that Flint Hill’s students have been given the opportunity to direct and produce their own works. Last year, two upperclassmen directed one-act plays that were held in the Olsen Theater.

However, this year’s productions differed slightly in that, rather than being held in the evening, over multiple days, and in a more typical setting, they instead took place right after school, on one day, and in the much more open and less predictable space that is the Learning Commons.

Due to the middle school’s preparations for a play on March 8 and the sheer proximity of the venue, the decision was made to hold the one-acts in the commons. However, Big Box actor/junior Zachary Coe, stated that he had no issue with the non-traditional setting and even enjoyed how it affected the actors’ relationship with the audience.

“Compared to a stage, it’s definitely different,” said Coe. “I was in a box; so, it didn’t matter that much to me. But, there is a difference in the way the audience is positioned comparatively to you. Normally, on a stage, you’re kind of above, and you’re the center. [But], with the one-acts… it’s a lot more down-to-earth. It feels like it’s a lot more casual, less like…a really big event. And, I think, given the casual nature of the plays, it was actually really good for this type of production, and I liked the atmosphere.”

Reminiscent of Shakespeare in the Park, the atmosphere on the day of the plays was very laid-back and relaxed. By getting rid of set changes and some of the other formalities of traditional theater, much more focus was instead placed on the actors themselves and the work that they were doing to portray their characters as accurately as possible.

Still, the tone of the shows cannot only be attributed to the venue but also to the excellent work done on the part of the directors in making their peers feel comfortable enough to portray their characters openly and honestly.

Senior and director of Big Box, Austin Jones spoke on his personal experience.

“Working with Brandon [Lessard] and Zac [Coe] was fantastic,” said Jones. “They are both great actors, and we all work well together.  The box itself was a bit of diva (laugh).”

And, director of Bad Auditions by Bad Actors, sophomore, Mardy Kramer, felt similarly.

“It was interesting,” said  Kramer. “I wasn’t afraid to call them out if they weren’t doing what they were supposed to. My actors have been kids who I have a history with, and I could really depend on them.”

Whether it was the work of the actors, that of the directors, or even the smiling face of their mentor, Upper School Drama Teacher, Kate Davis, throughout the hour during which the plays were held, it was easy to see the passion that all those involved had for the project. With only eight cast members overall and three weeks to prepare, there were very few hiccups in the productions, and the audience never seemed to be left unenthralled.

Of course, with this being the first year the learning commons have hosted the one-acts, there were a few problems when it came to the venue. For one, due to the plays starting at 2:30, some who had come to see the production were unsurprisingly late. Additionally, some of those who did enter the commons were slightly disruptive, letting the door slam as they came in or even, at times, openly and loudly expressing their confusion as to what exactly was taking place.

However, these are issues that may easily be solved in future. And, in the opinion of senior director, Jones, they in no way take away from the success and importance of these one-act plays moving forward.

“I thought the plays turned out quite well,” said Jones, “especially given the short amount of time we had to cast, direct, and produce the plays. I do think this is something that should be done in the future. I think the more creative control students have, the more they can explore their talents and grow as people. I am very grateful to Ms. Davis for giving us this great opportunity.”

Photo Credit: Sebastian Aguilar

Lessard is overtaken by a fuchsia mass (played by Coe).

 

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Flint Hill students shine brightly as they direct and produce their own one-act plays