In all forms of learning, the final step to mastery of a skill is application. Theater students did just that with their yearly production original one act plays. Each director took a different approach to leaving his or her mark on the audience.
“My one act had a very mature point of view on its topics because I took it so seriously from the beginning,” senior and director of Before I Hit Rock Bottom Troy Thompson said. “This is something that I’ve planned on doing since freshman year. Instead of just telling a story I wanted the audience to leave feeling impacted.”
The impact of a one act certainly packs a punch. In these scaled down productions, directors are forced to examine the significance of every line to create developed characters and plot lines. It’s a difficult form to master, but by the time Theater 4 students take the stage, they’re well prepared for the challenge.
“A one act is a short play, similar to a short story but still a play,” senior and co-director of Camp Rookie Ashley DaSilva said. “The student directed plays are usually short and sweet so that’s how we kick off the year in theater. It teaches dedication, which is ultimately what makes a one act successful, how else are you going to finish a set or get props done?”
Not surprisingly, the list of cast members extends far beyond the people seen on stage. From rehearsal managers and assistant directors to stagehands, it really does take an army to put on a show.
“Part of our job was to build the set and that included making or building the props,” DaSilva said. “We had some fun with it like for example the cabin number is 75 and the boy scouts troop patch is 91. The idea for that came from our troop number for districts, 7591.
Students were able to experience for themselves how to develop the some more technical components required to bring a play to life. This year’s sole junior director Anastasia Weston was able to better appreciate the nuances of a performance after crafting one herself.
“I learned a lot about developing characters speech,” Weston said. “For example, Sebastian is really sensitive so everything he says is going to be rushed, he uses smaller words, he’s very frantic and since Hayden is supposed to be more of a jock so he uses a lot of slang words.”
“When I was thinking about a story that I needed to write, I struggled because I had a lot of different concepts going on in my head,” Thompson said. “It was hard to focus on one so instead of trying to come up with a new concept I decided just to take the events that happened last year, I had a really really big crush and I never said anything about it to the person, and turn it into the story by exaggerating everything that happened between me and the person that I liked.”
Even once a clear direction presents itself, there are still a variety of problems that the crew has to address. Rehearsals can be derailed by a simple typo in the script, taking 10 minutes or more to get back on track. More substantial problems, such as dealing with conflicts between their cast, can test the strength of the greatest directors. But through perseverance and practice, those too can be overcome.
“The biggest roadblock was getting my actors to buy into their roles,” senior and director of Callin’ Help Gabriella Plaskon said. “One guy is by nature kind of shy but his character is extremely confident, almost to the point of cockiness, so I had to work with him on that.”
“Every good one act has dedicated actors and a strong story that connects people to the characters because if you have a story that the audience can’t connect to, they’re not going to remember it and they’re not going to want to watch it,” Weston said.
This fall’s one acts set a high standard for Titan Theater in the coming year. With over half of the program being seniors, they are poised to cement the legacy of excellence that has become synonymous with their productions. As teacher and program director Reid Conrad’s final year as a Titan begins, his students are intent on showing what they’ve learned.
“Laura and I are the type of people that want to produce quality work so we put a lot of effort into Camp Rookie to make Mr. Conrad and ourselves proud,” DaSilva said. “All the other directors felt the same way with their projects. Ultimately, that’s what we all strive to achieve.”