Three, Two, One Acts

SHS seniors elaborate on the process of writing and directing annual One Acts production


Jordin Baker

Senior Erik Mendoza and junior Kaitlyn Berry rehearse their lines for their parts in their One Acts skit after school on Dec. 17.

The usual musicals and plays that the SHS theater department puts on are led by people with experience with directing. They know what needs to be done and how to achieve and present a successful production. However, in the annual student-produced One Acts at SHS, all the tasks of directing and producing a play fall on groups of one or two seniors.

“The purpose of One Acts is to give students the opportunity to be directors and also playwrights as well,” theater teacher Kimberly Roberts said. “It’s a completely student-driven production. It’s their vision, it’s their words and it’s their creative direction.”

Seven teams of seniors are directing One Acts this year. Each group has to direct a small cast different kids in all the different productions each with their own roles, lines and directions.

One director, senior Alyssa Smith is co-directing alongside her friend senior Priscilla Garcia this year. Smith describes the act her and Garcia wrote as a comedic spin-off of the classic love story from “Twilight.”

“We never really meant it to be a spin-off of ‘Twilight,’” Smith said. “We just started writing line by line. Priscilla would write one line and then I would write another. We had no idea where it was going. It just kind of became what it became.”

After Smith and Garcia wrote their script, they, along with the directors from other One Acts, had to hold auditions to see who would play each part.

“First, we came up with a list of our characters and as we went through the auditions, we put names of actors with each character that we thought would best suit them and their personality,” Smith said.

Senior Jalyn Jackson is directing a different play about a man that is pursuing his dream to become an astronaut. He chose his actors differently from Smith and Garcia.
“I chose roles based on the dynamic that the actors had between each other when they were reading their lines,” Jackson said. “If you had that goofy type of vibe, I would have given you a part that fits that dynamic.”

After the process of writing and casting comes the actual directing of each One Act play. The directors have the creative freedom to achieve their vision of what they want their production to be. They tell the actors what to do, where to stand and how to say their lines.

“Priscilla and I have been working on blocking,” Smith said. “So, basically, we give general directions for the actors such as telling them where to walk or how to say a certain line.”

On the other hand, Jackson has been focusing more on the way the actors deliver their lines rather than just stage directions.

“I don’t want them to just read their lines as is,” Jackson said. “I want them to say them like they were actually that person.”

Both Jackson and Smith have had some challenges while working on their own productions. For Jackson, the greatest challenge has been trying to get everyone together to practice.

“Just trying to contact everyone whether that be by text or email has been the hardest,” Jackson said. “It’s really hard to get everyone together since some people have other after-school activities like sports or even jobs.”

According to Smith, the hardest thing for her and Garcia so far was writing their play.

“Just starting to write it has probably been the hardest,” Smith said.  ‘When we started, we tried coming up with ideas and then writing, but that didn’t really work. Then we tried doing the more impulsive thing like just writing line after line and seeing where that goes. It was kind of stressful.”

According to Smith, she’s had a lot of fun so far and is really excited to present her One Act in January. Jackson, on the other hand, is a little nervous but can’t wait to share his artistic vision.