Troy University theater students will be showcasing their directing skills next week when the Department of Theatre and Dance presents “Fall Shorts,” a collection of eight short student-directed plays.
Seven student directors will present their respective play or plays on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week. These one-act plays serve as the final project in the Directing II class, and collectively have utilized over 30 different student actors.
Elisa Dewberry, a senior theater major from Elba, will be directing “String Fever” by Jacquelyn Reingold, a one-act play about a single 40-year-old woman and her attempts to conceive a child.
“Admittedly at first glance, it doesn’t seem to be extremely relevant to a college audience,” Dewberry said. “But I feel like a lot of the issues the characters face are issues that a college audience might also deal with.”
Dewberry said that the directing class has taught her important skills that she needs in order to pursue directing as a career.
“I’ve learned how to write in-depth rehearsal notes and how to best communicate with the company,” Dewberry said. “I’ve also learned how to analyze and cut a script to fit my needs as a director without damaging the intellectual and artistic value of the script.”
Dewberry also said that she has enjoyed working with her all-student cast.
“They’re all very laid back and make the rehearsal process pleasant,” Dewberry said. “It gets really stressful at times… and they’re really understanding when I have to make last-minute changes.”
Miranda Walton, a junior theater education major from Alabaster who will be playing the title character in “Hello from Bertha” by Tennessee Williams, said that the process has been enjoyable from the acting side of things as well.
“It’s a different atmosphere because you don’t feel so much pressure,” Walton said.
Walton’s director, Justin Wooten, will be the only student directing two pieces instead of one. While the other six students will be doing plays that range from 30-45 minutes, Wooten’s two pieces will each be roughly 20 minutes.
“He (Wooten) has really given me the freedom to dive into my character… I really get to put my own twist on her,” Walton said. “He’s giving me the shot to do something I’ve never done before.”
Walton was cast in one of these one-acts last semester, where she played a more comic role. The role she will be playing this semester is an elderly woman on her deathbed, which she said will require more dramatic acting.
“I’m used to the comedy because that’s what I’m good at,” Walton said. “And now there are no funny lines to hide behind… I think it’s a good opportunity for people to challenge themselves as actors.”
The “Fall Shorts” will be performed in the Blackbox Theater upstairs in Malone Hall on Nov. 17, 18 and 19. The doors will open at 7:30 each night, and tickets can be obtained from the Theatre and Dance Box Office for free.