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Seniors express passion for theatre through self directed one-act plays

Photo courtesy of Anna Bundy

Dazzling Directors: Bowing after the end of their shows, senior directors (left to right), Sofie Schwartz, Anna Bundy, Micheal Kirby and Aidan Demsky, participate in the last theatre related event of the school year. The names of their plays, respectively, are, “Drugs are Bad”, “Not a Date”, “Buyer$ Market” and “The Secret Origin of Mojo Man”.

Samantha Boas, staff reporter

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Four years of hard work, all for what? Some seniors end the year with goals of conference or one last nap during class. Others round out their experience in the drama department by directing a short, one-act play, according to Anna Bundy, director of a senior one-act.

Five seniors have directed four different one act shows, which were performed on May 10, according to Bundy. Bundy’s play is called “Not a Date” and is a story about two teenagers who go out to lunch and decide whether or not their lunch is actually a date. Unlike the other one-act plays chosen by the senior directors, Bundy wrote her own script despite not being a writer.

“I do not think of myself as a writer at all,” Bundy said. “I actually wrote [my one-act] in my Drama 2 class, not specifically for the one-acts. We were supposed to write a 10 minute play so I wrote this play and I realized I kind of liked it. When it came time to choose a play to direct for one-acts this just seemed like it had to be done.”

Senior veterans within the theater program that have taken drama classes are eligible to direct a one-act play, usually ranging from 10 to 15 minutes, according to Drama Teacher Beth Barber. These one-act plays were the last shows at GBS for many of the seniors, including Bundy, and were very gratifying for Barber.

“I love seeing these seniors who I’ve worked with for four years, in most cases, go through the process, grow and develop in this area,” Barber said. “To see them come from freshmen to this point is so rewarding for me and for us because it’s the culmination of everything they’ve learned. To watch them take their leadership to the next level is extremely rewarding.”

Although these seniors have been acting in the drama program throughout their four years, directing has proven to be a new experience. Having been a first time director, Bundy has experienced the similarities and differences first-hand.

“Directing is really different [from acting] because instead of being on the stage, it’s being responsible for what happens on the stage,” Bundy said. “You have to pick out every minute detail of what’s happening and you have to be a leader. That’s a little different than being on the stage because with acting, you want to be cohesive with all the other actors on and build off of each other. It’s really different to see the process from another perspective.”

Drama Teacher John Knight has also noted the benefits from directing and how it may differ from what the actors have done within theater thus far in their careers.

“I think you really don’t learn something until you have to teach it to others and that’s very true here,” Knight said. “Although a lot of these students have been in a lot of plays, they’ve never had to turn around and think about how we would communicate that to somebody else, so that’s a great opportunity for them.”

Having seniors direct have proven to be a change for the student actors within their shows, according to freshman Helen Neppl, who starred in the comedy “Drugs are Bad”. Neppl noted that the student directors have provided more flexibility with scheduling, which was especially necessary because of the overlap between musical and senior one-acts.

“It’s a little bit different than having a teacher,” Neppl said. “Our rehearsal schedule is a lot more flexible because we can do it on the weekends and we can do it at [my director’s] house. We don’t have to come all the way to school [to rehearse].”

On May 10, the senior directors were able to display the hard work and leadership they have put in towards their one-acts. Shows took place at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Drama Dance Room and were open to anyone who wanted to come and watch. According to Knight, senior one-acts are not the only opportunities for students to lead and use their skills within a flexible program.

“That’s something good about Glenbrook South in general,” Knight said. “We really do give a lot of opportunities to teach leadership skills to students between Peer Group, [Peer] Mentors, PE Leaders and senior directed one-acts. All of those are similar in that way.”

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Seniors express passion for theatre through self directed one-act plays