The making of the one acts


Justin Hill (11) and Om Pednekar (11) on the set of “Diatom,” one of the one-acts.

Every year, the Theatre IV class puts on the One-Act Festival, where each of the ten members, juniors and seniors,  directs a one-act play which is then performed to a paying audience. Although the festival only lasts three days, months of preparation go into it. Not only do the students direct their plays, they also fund them and build the sets.

The Theatre IV class this year has a key difference between it and Theatre IV classes of previous years: it had a different teacher. David Boone, who normally teaches the class, was unable to due to health reasons, so William Henry took over the class instead

“I took the class over after the first nine weeks, [when] they’d already chosen their shows,” Henry said.

Each student in the class chose their own one-acts, with few restrictions placed on them. Co-directors James Myers (11) and Kenny Yisrael (12) chose “Diatom,” a play about two children at a bus stop and the funny, insightful, and downright bizarre conversations they have. What drew them to the show was its simplicity.

“We didn’t want anything too flashy, or too extravagant…but “Diatom” is well-paced. The characters are interesting,” Myers said.

After choosing their one-acts, the class held auditions to find actors to fill their shows. Posters and announcements went around the school, inviting anyone to audition. Aspiring actors performed a monologue to a panel of the directors. Afterwards, the directors called back the actors to decide who would be cast.

Once the decision was made, the class moved into rehearsals. For many of the directors, this was not easy, with the most common problem being scheduling conflicts, meaning they could not get in needed rehearsals.

“We scheduled rehearsals based on when [the actors] were available. That was always very difficult because we have 12 people in our cast,” Jeremy Thordarson (12), co-director of “Lip Service,” said.

Even though there were challenges, it offered a valuable learning experience for the young directors.

“I think it was a positive process for the students. I think they created some really nice work and learned a lot about the theatrical process,” Henry said.

This process was not just good for the directors. A lot of the actors in the one-acts had never been on the stage before and many are freshman. For them, it was a chance to perform that they would not normally have.

“You have to realize they’ve never acted before in anything, so it was very impressive how fast they caught on,” Yisrael said.

Now, with the One-Act Festival over, the class is already looking forward to their next project.

“We’re going to try to produce an entire show as a class, with the 10 of them performing together,” Henry said. “We’re still looking for some scripts… but we will be doing it.”