Theatre students will host a festival of one-act plays December 6 – 9 to share a story, and their passion for the stage, with the audience.
The student-directors in the production are responsible for directing a play of their choice.
“The festival of one-act plays is the culminating event of our upper-level theatre major directing course,” said theatre professor Jeff Wittman. The students are individually responsible for the research, analysis, rehearsal and performance of their chosen plays. “This allows student directors to find their own vision, and to share their unique voice with the audience.”
Sami Topping ’19 is directing a performance of The Agreement, a story about two people who have reached a crossroads in their relationship. “I feel as if directing is something that allows you to combine several different elements of theatre,” she said.
“Theatre is about sharing a story with others in order to allow them to feel something that they normally wouldn’t in their day-to-day lives,” Topping said. “A show is not about the director, or the leading actors; it is about a work of art that is being shared with people who want to enjoy it.”
The process began with selecting a play from about 20 choices. Then the student-directors analyzed the plays, created a ground plan for their scenes, created cue sheets with all sound and light cues, and drafted rehearsal schedules to accommodate all the actors. During rehearsals, Topping has practiced problem-solving skills as the cast has brought the story to life. “Many times something that you think will work when you are analyzing the script at home, doesn’t translate to the stage well,” she said.
Topping also spends much of her time “analyzing the play, looking for different beats in the script, and looking for character motivation.”
Another theatre student, Logan Wagner ’19, is directing Lou Gehrig Did Not Die of Cancer, a play about a baseball coach who suffers from an inability to show legitimate intimacy with the people he cares about because his father never showed this kind of attention or compassion to him. The real question becomes one of whether the coach can turn his life around before he loses everything.
Logan first took an interest in directing at the age of six or seven, when he “took an interest in the inner mechanics of how TV shows and movies were put together,” he said. “The idea of directing has always fascinated me, and it wasn’t until I joined the world of theatre officially about 5 years ago that I began find opportunities to make those daydreams a reality.”
The Festival of One-Act plays will will take place in the Dillard Studio Theatre on the lower level of the Dillard Fine Arts Center at 7 p.m. each night from December 6 to December 9. Latecomers cannot be seated, and the shows include mature themes and language.