Theater students are taking big steps in their education this week as they prepare for the yearly “Fall Shorts,” various one-act plays directed and performed by students.
Students in the Directing II class have been studying techniques for the direction of actors and are putting their newfound skills to the test. Each student in the class must direct a one-act play, which is defined as a play with no intermission, as the final project in the class.
Led by Professor Adena Moree, six theater majors have been working day and night directing their respective shows, which range from romantic comedies to family dramas. While some shows have only two or three cast members, some will be showcasing up to 10 people.
The students who have been and will be acting under the direction of the directing students are all theater majors who auditioned for their roles and were cast by their respective student directors.
Unlike mainstage productions, these shows are completely student-designed. All costume, lighting and set choices must be made by the student director.
“To be a well-rounded theater student … you have to study every aspect of theater and how it works,” said Virginia Brandt, a senior theater major from Center.
Brandt sees this process as imperative to being a productive member of the theater industry. “It’s important to understand the work that directors and stage managers do because you’re going to be working with those people for the rest of your career.”
Brandt said that directing her peers as her actors and actresses has been a pleasant process.
“When they auditioned, they were the ones that stood out the most,” Brandt said. “I knew instantly that these were the people I wanted to work with.”
Moree supervises the students, but rarely intervenes in their actual work.
“It’s an amazing thing to watch a light bulb go off when a student realizes it’s not about them anymore,” Moree said, “and that they have a responsibility not only for an artistic endeavor, but for the well-being of the group.”
Moree expressed confidence that these students, actors and directors are learning valuable information.
“All theater processes converge in regard to the role of the director,” she said.
All of these plays take place in the blackbox theater in Malone Hall. Tuesday night, seniors Marc Johnson and Connor Profitt opened their shows to the public, and seniors Justin Kirkpatrick and Kaitlyn Conway presented their shows Wednesday evening.
The last two shows, directed by seniors Shelby Steverson and Virginia Brandt, will be Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., back to back.
Tickets are free and available through the box office in the Trojan Center.