One Acts returns in-person to Whitman Drama


Liam Darnell

Student performers present “One Acts: Strange Tales” in front of an audience seated directly onstage.

By Liam Darnell

On May 18 and May 19, Whitman Drama presented the student-run production “One Acts: Strange Tales” in person for the first time in five years.

The show ran for approximately two hours and consisted of seven acts written and directed by Whitman students. Tickets were free and all proceeds from concession purchases were donated to Children’s National Hospital.

The artistic producer, senior Clara Baisinger-Rosen, helped restart One Acts after a two-year hiatus in which performances took place virtually.

“I think the most important part of One Acts this year was really bringing it back after a long time of it not existing,” Baisinger-Rosen said. “I’m hoping that in the future, it’ll be an opportunity for people to really experiment and explore in a way that they can’t do with a normal Whitman Drama production.”

Baisinger-Rosen wrote and directed two acts, selected writers and directors for the five others and helped the directors cast actors. She enjoyed developing the vision of this year’s One Acts. While operating on a low budget, she worked to engage the audience by seating them directly on the auditorium stage, immersing viewers in the action.

“The way that the audience members sat with the actors was a nice touch to such a personal production,” said sophomore Izan Blanco Qureshy, an audience member. “It’s the same feeling you get when watching a 3D film. It really connects you to the actors and it was also easier to tell what everyone was saying.”

Whitman Drama member Luciana Leyton, a freshman, was an actor. She performed in the acts “Leave the Light On,” playing a high schooler struggling with academics, and “Sell Me an Orange,” where she recited an almost 20-minute monologue.

“One Acts is unlike every other Whitman Drama production I’ve been in,” Leyton said. “We acted in a makeshift black box theater by having the audience sit onstage. We didn’t have microphones. We didn’t have a huge set. With zero budget, we made something out of nothing.”

To audition for One Acts, directors assigned excerpts from scripts for students to perform. Auditions were less intense and less time-consuming than regular Whitman Drama auditions, Leyton said.

Sophomore Tessa Sagner, an audience member, was impressed with the high quality of the production. Sagner, a member of the tech crew for previous Whitman Drama shows, went to the performance to support her friends.

“The writing was really creative and I thought the actors were really great with the material,” Sagner said. “Nothing was too corny, over the top or basic, and it was all very well done. I’ve been involved in tech before but seeing One Acts and seeing what they do with such limited resources makes me appreciate it more and it makes me want to consider acting.”