September 22, 2020

One Acts take the stage

Block A One Acts will be performed at 3:30pm on Thursday and 7pm on Friday, while Block B One Acts will be performed at 7pm on Thursday and 3:30pm on Friday. (Photo by Rachel Landau '17)

Ranging from comedy to drama and everything in between, the One Act Plays offer an array of colorful and comical vignettes.

Taking place in the Little Theatre, the actors will perform plays in two groups over two days with Block A on Thursday the 17th at 3:30 and Friday at 7:00 and Block B on the 17th at 7:00 and Friday at 3:30*. Students in the Acting IV class direct the short plays as part of the requirement for the class. Because of the abundance of students in the class, the short plays themselves are rather small with casts of two or three actors.

On the second day of One Acts, teachers and former students judge the one acts, recognize outstanding actors, and choose a winning play to go on to a festival at Emerson College, which is the oldest high school musical festival. The plays are judged during the high school’s One Act festival simply to pick a play for the festival, and acting teacher Stephen Wrobleski reminds students of this. “Art is so subjective,” he said. “There are a lot of great shows and  a lot of shows could go and represent wellesley very very well.”

The task of putting the short play together is no small one for the student directors in Acting IV. After spending the entire first half of the year learning how to direct a play, they put what they’ve learned in the classroom into practice with the One Act plays. The directors must chose a script, hold auditions for their cast members, and craft a vision for their play, which entails everything from their set design, to costumes, to metaphors, to props, and to actors’ line timing and intonation, no small task for a busy high school senior.

“I love when students realize how big the job of directing is… To direct a piece well it takes an enormous amount of work and will and planning and vision and effort; it’s an enormous task,” Wrobleski said.

Chris Mykrantz ’16 explained how he is striving to craft his vision as a director for his one act play, “Naomi and the Living Room”. He is working to incorporate strategic pauses into the script, to make it funnier and to add his own touch to the play. Yet, he also wants to let his actors express their creative vision for the play. “As a director, you don’t want to just be forcing your views and let them be creative, but at the same time you need to guide them,” he said.

To account for this, he said let’s them run through their original instincts, taking notes on what they do and compares their vision with his own. “I feel that works,” Mykrantz said, for finding a good balance between his actors’ visions and his own.

Not only do the directors learn from the experience, but the actors also benefit from having a student director for it provides a unique learning opportunity unavailable in any other production the department puts on.

“As an actor, [the one act process] is very interactive because both the actor and director are are students and it’s really fun to work with them and ask for their input,” said Tony Shu ’17, who is is senior Lizzie Mears’s one act, “Time Flies”. “I grow a ton during the whole One Act process– you can only get so much coaching from Wro,” said Shu, noting how the small cast allows the director to focus their energy and feedback.

Wrobleski too recognizes the benefits of actors receiving different perspectives on their work. “It’s great. They’re learning different styles, especially since some of these actors are going to be directors in a couple years, or next year, so it’s good for them to get sense of how should this go, where should I be going, do I want to run my process like this,” he said.

The plays are also a fitting way for the acting students to culminate their four years of Acting at the high school in a piece that reflects their personality.“After watching these students grow over 4 years, I finally see them take the reigns and create a piece that’s their vision,” said Wrobleski. “Definitely a bit of all of them in all their pieces… you pick things that you are attracted to viscerally.”

*Block A’s performances will include:

  • Philadelphia
  • Trace of Memories
  • Funeral Parlor
  • Hardy Boys and the Mystery of Where Babies Come From
  • Ferris Wheel
  • The Last Can
  • Who’s Crazy?
  • The Class
  • Asteroid Belt
  • Not Funny
  • Entertaining Mr. Helms

*Block B’s performances will include:

  • The Rental
  • Pillow Talk
  • The Next Mrs. Jacob Anderson
  • Kingdom of the Spider
  • Soap Opera
  • Cindy & Julie
  • The Weed Dream
  • Anger Management
  • Favors
  • Perfect
  • Naomi and the Living Room
  • Time Flies

(Olivia Gieger ’17, Associate Editor)

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