One-Act Wonders Showcase Student Directors

Ms. Greta Powers, CVC Arts Correspondent

The CVU Theatre Program’s spring performance this year was comprised of the One-Acts, a series of four short plays. The plays featured were Attack of the Moral Fuzzies, Death, 13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. As usual, the spring performance rotates between a full-length play and the One-Acts each year. Since last year’s spring performance was the show, Get Smart, it was time for the students to step up this year and have a go at a new experience. This is the second performance of school year with the first being the fall musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The biggest difference between the One-Acts, the fall musical, and even last year’s play is that the One-Acts were student directed.

CVU Student Directors

Photo courtesy of CVU Theatre

Instead of an adult leading a group of high school students, four experienced CVU seniors lead their peers to create the production. Brenna Comeau, Weller Henderson, Alexa Kartschoke, and Halina Vercessi-Clarke were certainly up to the task of individually directing the short plays. What was possibly the most unexpected, though, was what these four directors would experience during their time as directors.

“It was a little different,” Brenna, director of Attack of the Moral Fuzzies says about being a student director. “I think that [the cast members] thought they could get away with more because they were my friends and not students I was teaching,” she said. Brenna describes a challenge many of the directors faced: having to be a leader for a group of their classmates. Whether it’s managing a group project or being a boss at a job, it can be difficult to exert authority over peers. “I had to find a balance between being at their level [and] identifying with them as a peer, but also establishing that I am an authority,” Halina, director of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, agreed. When there is an adult directing, they automatically have authority over the students because of the age difference. In this case, when there is only a one to three year difference between the director and cast, finding the line between friend and leader can be difficult.

Finding precisely how to be a leader can also be difficult. When asked what skills the senior directors acquired during this process, almost all said being a leader. “In general, I’ve always kind of seen myself as a leader but I’ve never been in charge of something before,” states Weller, director of Death, a play from Woody Allen. The characteristics of what makes a leader successful were also navigated by Alexa, director of 13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview: “Learning how to be a commanding and productive leader but not being mean or obnoxious or things like that,” she said. Halina similarly stated: “Before this, I wouldn’t really have considered myself the most assertive person and I definitely had to be assertive and authoritative in this role. I had to learn how to raise my voice or be more stern and crack the whip a little bit.”

Overall, the four seniors did a great job rising to the challenge of directing to create the four One-Act plays. “The casts were great. All the lines were down, the acting was great. And to see a lot of people who had never done theatre before and watch them grow was great.” said Weller. Alexa says, “I was so happy watching it; I was so proud of my actors, I felt like a mom!”