York College One-Acts
Emerging Directors under lights
by Nathana Faddis — Panther Press
Many say that variety is the spice of life, and this year that was certainly the case with the York College one-acts. The weekend line-up described as "Kitchen Sink One-Acts" included productions featuring a cast of two all the way up to a cast of 17, as well as genres from slapstick comedy to a heart-wrenching drama.
Junior theatre major, Kayla Lawrence directed Andante by Wesley Coutts, a moving drama about a master violinist who experiences a horrible accident. Throughout the show, he and his family learn to cope with the loss, despair, and grief surrounding the incident. Though the journey is emotional, the play ended on a note of hope.
Lawrence discussed how the script was a challenge but also a dream of hers to direct. “Since I was a freshman in high school I have wanted to direct this particular show. I am learning what it means to work with other artists who bring their creativity to the process, and how that can give a vision of vibrancy beyond only myself.”
Mitch Roush, a senior theatre major and Biblical Studies minor, directed The Zoo Story by Edward Albee, a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright. The show is a dynamic dialogue between two characters, Peter a well-off man in Central Park and Jerry a bum living off welfare. After they randomly encounter one other, the two men enter into a frighteningly open conversation. It is an eye-opening and challenging show.
Roush has been actively involved in theater throughout his years at York. It is a passion in his life. He described directing one-acts for him as being a crucial part of his development of theatrical skills.
“No matter how much education one receives,” the student director noted, “the best aspect of preparation will always come from first-hand experience.”
Senior music education and performance major and theatre minor Sara Firm also brought her talent to the one-acts by directing All I Really Need to Know I Learned by Being in a Bad Play by Werner Trieschmann. The slapstick comedy exploits the stereotypes of theatre.
Before the opening night's performance Firm was extremely excited about her show and cast: “My One Act is forcing me to work with a large cast. I directed once before with a small cast, but this time I have 17 actors in my show. This alone forces me to think on a larger scale.”
The final one-act, Trifles by Susan Glaspell, was directed by senior Elise Hart. A classic in the tradition of great literature, as well as a unique time period farce, this one-act depicts two female characters who are able to solve a mystery using their personal knowledge of their gender that their husbands do not posses. Because women, not men, find the telling clues to the case, this show is often categorized as an early feminist drama.
All together, there were 30 student actors polishing their talents and taking part in the production. Jerome Taylor spoke highly of his experience in rehearsals and the chance to try a new role saying, “It has been a tremendous and exhilarating experience. I have always loved being on stage, the performances will be a lot of fun!”
In an interview with the Panther Press at the beginning of production week, Mitch Roush was right when he said the performances would have something for everybody: “In one evening, the audience will be exposed to nearly every kind of mainstream theatrical genre. Everyone can come out and laugh, listen, think, and enjoy as they watch their peers put on stellar performances for their aspiring directors.”