Gunn’s annual student-directed One Acts, which began on May 8, include five plays: “The Veldt,” “The Ugly Duckling,” “Flowers for Algernon,” “The Bald Soprano” and “This is a Test.” For many of the students like seniors Anthony Keech, Holly Wright, Sivan Spector, Tatiana Boyle and Julia Nelson and junior Dakota Baker, this is their first venture into the world of directing.
Sophomore Alan Hanson, who plays “George” in “The Veldt,” believes that One Acts is an integral part of the theater community. “One Acts, compared to the other shows, is a lot more relaxed, less stressful and intensive, and doesn’t cause a lot of sacrifice to other commitments,” he said. Senior stage manager Evan Kraemer agrees that One Acts is important. “In essence, you are getting five different shows wrapped up in one night,” he said.
According to Hanson, One Acts is a very exciting time for both actors and directors due to the increase in teamwork. “You have to learn how to work with the different directors, and the directors have to learn how to work with people,” Hanson said. Baker agrees. “It’s pretty crazy and daunting,” she said. “Being an actor, you have to listen to the director’s instructions, but when you’re the director, you’re the puppet-master of a bunch of free-willed puppets.” Directing her peers, she says, is a totally different experience from acting. She cast some inspiring people for her show, and she feels daunted from the responsibility. “Some of the people I casted I really look up to and admire as fellow actors,” she said. “I feel kind of insecure giving them directions.”
Kraemer believes that the most rewarding aspect of acting in One Acts is seeing the final product. “The shows are fantastic and seeing what the directors have done so far makes me really excited and proud to put their shows on and call myself stage manager,” he wrote. “It is frankly the best experience I have had at Gunn. Baker admits that they had a couple setbacks during the last few weeks, due to the shows’ length. “The play I chose was originally well over an hour. I cut it down a bunch and it was running last week at about 30 minutes faster,” she said.
Kraemer recommends that students, teachers and parents come and see One Acts as soon as possible. “You have a wide variety of shows that makes the whole night feel like a roller coaster,” he said. According to Baker, One Acts is a great time to de-stress during the end of the year. “It allows you to forget your life for roughly three hours and enjoy the struggles, happiness and comedy of other people’s lives,” she said.
Drama teacher James Shelby thinks the plays are going excellently so far, and that they will be prepared to deliver smoothly. “Every night we have had bigger attendance, and our final night of the first weekend we sold out,” he said. In addition, Shelby believes that, although the shows have shortened in time, they are better in quality. “I’m just really impressed with all the plays,” he said. Hanson calls the plays a huge success so far, and has enjoyed his experience in the show. “It is a pretty nice way to end off the year,” he said. One Acts continues until tomorrow night. Get your tickets early, because they quickly sell out.