Of all the traditions at the high school, the annual one-acts festival holds a special significance to the performing arts community. They will take place on December 15 and 16. Students, directors, and Tech Crew work hard to make the 14th year of one-acts the best one yet.
A ‘one-act’ is very different from a typical musical or play. They tend to be only about 10 minutes long, and require less involvement from Tech Crew. This year there will be nearly 24 one-acts with 2-5 actors in each.
While the school regards one-acts as a festival, that is not all they act as. Students directing one-acts will receive a grade for their production. However, the grading aspect of one-acts does not take away from the fun. Tess Buckley ’17 describes the one-acts as not only a festival, but a celebration as well.
Perhaps the most different aspect of a one-act is drama teacher Mr. Stephen Wrobleski’s lack of involvement. Wrobleski normally directs every production the school hosts. However, for one-acts he hands over the leadership roles to his students. Members of the Acting 4 class direct the one-acts.
As students direct one-acts, the faculty advisors have a much smaller role in the production. Wrobleski not directing significantly changes the dynamic of a show, so it has its ups and downs. “The experience is more fulfilling, but it is also a lot scarier. As the director you have the final say in everything, good and bad,” said Buckley.
Fellow student director Anand Ghorpadey ’17 agreed. He noted the importance of freedom as well. “The freedom is challenging but very rewarding for both the directors and the actors,” Ghorpadey said.
The one-acts also give Acting 4 students the opportunity to create something unique for the first time. “One-acts are super special to a lot of Acting 4 kids because it is our first chance to try our hand at directing, and we are able to put something on that is all our own,” Buckley said.
Wrobleski sees the one-acts as crucial to the students learning experience. “It is entirely their vision and the synthesis of all their training coming together in this project,” Wrobleski said.
Ghorpadey also highlights the benefits of one-acts to student actors. While bigger productions may seem intimidating, the one-acts invite students who are less involved in performing arts. “The one-acts offer a great opportunity for kids that don’t normally perform at school to get a taste of what theatre is like,” said Ghorpadey.
For members of Tech Crew, one-acts also offer a different experience. Just as any other production, Tech Crew members act as a vital part of the execution of the one-acts. While they don’t produce large stagecraft and elaborate costumes, the Techies play a crucial role in the production of one-acts. Techies handle the departments of light and sound for one-acts. “I really like these shows because it gives me a chance to experiment in departments I don’t usually work in,” said Audrey Hill ’19, a member of Tech Crew.
Hill has not only experienced one acts from the point of view as a Techie, but also as an actor. Last year, she participated in one-acts and found the experience just as fulfilling as she does this year. Now, she is able to understand the experience of the one-acts from two perspectives. “I can see the bonds that the actors share with each other, as well as their director, and the techies working on the same show really get to know each other. It’s a great experience,” Hill said.
“I love seeing the work of my students come to life. It’s fun to watch them create the piece with their vision,” said Wrobleski.