Courtesy of Vickie Moss at Iola Register
Actors are known for their versatility, and with these acts the students were put to the test. Instead of being in the spotlight some students took the lead from behind the curtain. Five students were put to the ultimate test when they had to choose, cast, and direct a play. In just roughly thirty minutes, four actors told a tale of love and comedy. The room was filled with laughter at every joke and the short play left the audience yearning for more.
The Allen Theater Department put on Student-Directed One Acts, Feb. 24, 25, and the 26. The short one scene plays were directed by select students and one faculty member. The first act of the night was directed by Lexie Vega and starred Albus Huskey, Rachel Shaffer, and JieJie Means.
Directing a play is very different from acting in it. The director must be in charge of the situation and have a vision in mind. For Vega this was her first time behind the curtain. Going into auditions she had an open mind with no specific actors she wanted for her characters. When asked about her feelings going into auditions she said she knew the characters were very moldable. With this in mind she cast a crew that she believed “their characters were from the same world.”
“It’s very different [directing],specifically the way you communicate with people,” Vega said when interviewed about her feelings towards directing her one act.
For one student, it was his first time in the spotlight on the Allen stage. Having tried out for previous plays, Albus Huskey wasn’t interested in auditioning for the one acts at first. Huskey played the main love interest, David, in The Perfect Proposal. On stage he displayed a confused man trying to plan an engagement to a woman he clearly did not love. Throughout the act the audience laughed along to Huskey’s vivid facial expressions and crude dance skills. He played up the character with such charisma the audience couldn’t help but swoon for clueless David.
A seasoned actor, Shaffer had some new experiences with auditions and rehearsals for the one acts. In a span of thirty minutes all the actors had auditioned for five different shows. Going into the auditions they had only a general idea of the scene. The actors began rehearsals at the end of January and only had a month turn around before putting on their acts. Most of the groups only rehearsed two nights a week until tech week when they practiced everyday. Shaffer’s main challenge in the act was the substantial amount of props she had to juggle during her show. From walking sticks to sweatbands, she carried the act, literally. Rachel also had many costume changes throughout the act; she displayed skill and talent throughout the show.
As a director herself, JieJie Means understood Vega’s early directing. She wasn’t originally going to be in one of the acts but decided to make a stunning performance in The Perfect Proposal. Although Means only had a few lines she played the role of David’s almost fiance, Melissa, with a level of sass that was unmatched. The audience learned all the bad of Melissa before she even made an appearance, and when she did Means made sure everyone of the audience members loathed her. A sweet girl in person, Means showed her skill in acting when she displayed a character unlike herself in every way, and it worked.
From new actors, challenging props, and a healthy helping of talent, these four students really shone during their one act scene. They opened the night with a strong performance and set the stage for the remaining acts that were just as stunning. Make sure you catch these gifted actors at their next show, The Spitfire Grill.