Arts and Entertainment

Student directed one-acts are ACTually amazing

By Bianca Ho and Sandy Shen
Published: May 2009

A troubled playwright caught up in his own fantasy world. A Jewish child disguised as a Nazi soldier during the Holocaust. A lost boy searching for the meaning of true love.

From April 30-May 2, these main characters of South Stage’s one-acts from the Student Directed Festival grabbed the audience’s attention, each one of them teaching a distinct message to the, and every one as meaningful as the next.

The first play, Old Saybrook, directed by senior Mark Galinovsky, opens with two couples having a small get-together in the middle of their house.

Couples Norman and Sheila (played by junior Ariel Shvartsman and sophomore Sarah Wanger) and David and Jenny (played by sophomore Jake Light and sophomore Charlotte Sall) have their own inside jokes and shared experiences. They gently tease each other about their shortcomings and insignificant faults, and there seems to be a healthy relationship among the four of them.

As the rest of the story unfolds, however, a third couple joins their company to visit the house where they first got married. Newcomers Hal and Sandy (played by senior Alex Brodsky and sophomore Tanya Lyon, respectively) know about every nook and cranny of the house, including a secret vault behind the fireplace.

Sheila discovers a diary that Norman has been keeping in the vault and reveals to the audience that Jenny, Sheila’s sister, has been having an affair with Norman.

The scene then breaks out into chaos as David becomes aware of the situation and proceeds to bring out a shotgun.

There is another twist in the plot, however, as the former owner of the house, a writer named Max Krolian (played by freshman Daniel Bender-Stern), reveals to everyone that those four people are not real, but characters he invented in a play he failed to finish writing.

Hal and Sandy then take this opportunity to compare how this play fits in with their real life experiences, and reveal to each other affairs they have had.

When it seems like nothing can be helped, and their relationship is in jeopardy, they make up, realizing that life is about forgiveness.

Theopolis, the second play, was written and directed by senior Jonah David. The play consists of no speaking, but rather movements, music and sounds. The play about the Holocaust begins with a scene taking place at a Nazi-infested camp, where two officers are patrolling the areas. The Jewish people oppressed by the Nazis are introduced, and the audience embarks on a journey following the story of a young Jewish child hidden beneath a Nazi shell.

Though the play is a silent one, the message is no less powerful or meaningful than that of any regular play. The occasional sound effect and the simple piano score, played by freshman Patricia Ho, provides all the sound needed for the impact of the story.

The third, and final play, Women and Wallace directed by senior Anya Whelan-Smith, is a memoir of a boy’s life, beginning at age six.

The first thing the audience hears from him are all the reasons Wallace (played by freshman Aaron Wolff) loves his mother, and he continues to skip off to school. The plotline takes a twist, however, as the audience watches in horror while Wallace’s mother kills herself with a kitchen knife.

The story traces the rest of Wallace’s life, as he bears clumsy interactions with girls as a result of his mother’s suicide. We learn that he is afraid to allow himself to become too emotionally attached in a relationship because, as he learned at the age of six, “all women desert in the end.

He finally learns from his grandmother that he cannot blame all of his mistakes on the death of his mother and he has to come to terms with the fact that he would make mistakes on his own, even if she were still alive.

Galinovsky, David, and Whelan-Smith, put together an astounding show. Each play was unique, and the audience never lost interest. The night was filled with an appropriate mix of comedy, tragedy, and even a mixture of both in Women and Wallace.

By beginning the show with a light-humored comedy that had a meaningful message, the directors successfully grabbed the audience’s attention.

The serious undertone of Theopolis was an effective continuation of the show, and finally, Women and Wallace was both uplifting and humorous.

All in all, the Student Directing Festival was an incredible show, which garnered laughter and almost-tears while capturing the watchers’ hearts.

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