Students direct one act plays

Maeve Trainor

By Yiyang Zhang

Faint rays of green light pierce through the darkness from downstage as 13 performers dressed in white saunter onto the stage. A single voice breaks the silence: “Imagine growing up straight in a gay world.” Dancers spread out on the stage and, through modern choreography, portray a society where being gay is the norm.

This dance piece, “Heterophobe,” directed by senior Adrienne Kafka, along with “The End,” directed by senior Carly Choppin, “No Exit,” directed by senior Alex Parsky and “Stand By Me,” directed by junior Kevin Hatcher, made up this year’s One Act Play Festival, performed May 12.

The show is unique from other Whitman productions in that it is entirely student-run, leading to both opportunities and challenges for student directors, producer Becky Keteltas said.

“It’s a very individual and unique opportunity for people to gain leadership skills and to learn to forge their own way,” Keteltas said. “It’s a little bit stressful because there aren’t any guidelines, you have to figure out all the things that need to be done, and no one’s giving you deadlines either.”

As the last Whitman Drama production of the year, One Acts allows many underclassmen to perform and make an impression before auditions for next year’s fall musical and winter play.

“One Acts is a fantastic way for younger people to get a bigger role and show what they can do, since they might not have gotten the chance to form their acting skills with the director earlier in the year,” Keteltas said.

Freshman Matthew Millin agreed, saying that One Acts allows underclassmen to learn from more experienced actors in a formal environment. It also has smaller casts that encourage actors to focus on individual roles, Millin said.

Millin danced under Kafka’s direction in “Heterophobe,” which tells the story of the hypothetical attitude toward straight people in a gay-dominant world, as people’s attitudes transition from hate to acceptance and unconditional love.

“Heterophobe was inspiring to watch. The choreography was interesting and tech made the green lights look really good,” freshman Rowan Mohan said. “I thought that the message it gave off was very important and a lot of people in the audience could understand the struggles gay people go through in the real world.”

The other three plays in the show had their own appealing aspects, senior Calem Riggs said. “The End” brought an amusing start with one character daydreaming about meeting her ex-boyfriend in a coffee shop. “No Exit” intended to evoke deep thinking by describing three people coming together in a microcosm of hell. “Stand By Me,” the final act, focused on friendship and youthful memories.

Senior Claire Hagerty appreciated the producers’ hard work putting on a great show and the immaculate blocking and delivering of each play.

“One Acts is just as exciting as the other Whitman Drama productions I’ve seen before,” Hagerty said. “The staff were really professional in producing such a well-done show. And I liked the fact that I didn’t have to pay for admission.”

Students in leadership positions had the opportunity to learn about directing from their participation, Parsky said.

“From this experience, I learned how hard directing is,” Parsky said. “I usually act, but as the student director, you have to worry about everything individually and the big picture as a whole. It’s a big challenge, and I have a lot more respect for my directors after this.”