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Behind the curtain

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Later this Spring, three students will cast and direct the one-act plays currently in production. One-act plays, which originated in Ancient Greece, are productions that take place over one act, opposed to several.

Rosie Cappetta, senior, is one of these students. Having already played the perspectives of cast member and assistant director in various productions, Cappetta embraces her new leadership position; she admits that direction is entirely different.

“Being a cast member is definitely fun because you get to be part of the scene, and you feel like you have this tangible evidence of what you put into the show. Being an assistant director is cool because you’re kind of separated from the cast, and you get to see everything happen in front of you,” Cappetta said. “But being a director, it’s all your work and your vision, so you’re the one working to make that vision come true.”

Cappetta became involved with the one-act plays after doing some research over the summer and trying to come up with ideas. “Last spring, they announced that the spring play this year was going to be student-directed one-acts, and they said to start reading plays over the summer if you were interested in it. I have always been interested in directing, and, being part of the drama group, it was something that I was planning on doing from the get-go,” she said.

Hannah Verdon, senior, will also direct these one-acts. “As soon as I heard about it, I was interested because I’ve often been on the acting side of a show but not a directing position,” Verdon said.

Having participated in 12 shows already, Verdon explained that her directorial debut was a foray into the unknown. “The nature of the work that we’re going to have to do is definitely going to be a lot more intense and on our own. It’s going to be me calling all of the shots, so I have to walk into rehearsal knowing what I want to get done. It’s a lot of planning,” she said.

Since the majority of the year’s plays are dramas, the directors decided to experiment with comedies. Cappetta chose a humorous adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet”. “I read a lot of one acts, and a lot of them are depressing. But I just wanted something fun, so I picked a play that I thought would be easy for kids to act. I wanted to use it for a learning opportunity since it’s really easy to do and fun,” Cappetta said.

Before the auditioning process, Cappetta explained what types of actors she was going to watch for. “We’re not looking for kids who are the best actors in the world. I’m just looking for people who are going to be brave onstage and who are fully committed to the process,” she said.

Verdon’s play, “When God Comes to Breakfast, You Don’t Burn the Toast”, written by Gary Apple, follows the story of a couple who are surprised to have God stop in for lunch. The play serves to explore the role of faith in the lives of those both religious and nonreligious people.

Likewise, Verdon stated that she would be looking for students who adapt and listen well. “Sometimes it’s hard from one student to another because even though I am a senior, I’m only a little older than they are. So something we student directors are looking for are people who not only have the ability to think for themselves, but also the ability to communicate with the directors and follow them,” Verdon said.

Alex Newkirk, junior, is the third of the students directing the plays to premier this spring. He has acted in several productions, mostly focusing around improvisational comedy. “I’ve always like the theatrical process, but I’m not a huge actor. Directing seemed like a fun, new way to enjoy the acting experience.”

Like both other shows, Newkirk’s production is comedic in nature. “God,” by the esteemed comedy screenwriter Woody Allen, is a play within a play chronicling two Greeks in the process of writing and performing a play. It touches on the idea of the playwright as an all powerful being and whether the actors in the play have any power. I swear its not confusing,” said Newkirk. “It’s a little anarchic and farcical, and there are a whole lot of jokes coming at rapid fire.’

Auditions were held on March 13 and callbacks on March 14. Verdon explained how production would have to be expedited with less than a month to prepare. “We’re just going to hit the ground running because we don’t have much time with spring break coming so soon. Every rehearsal will be precious, so as soon as the cast list gets up, that very day will be a rehearsal,” she said.

Given so little time and desiring experienced directors’ perspectives, Verdon explained that the student directors would be receiving some occasional assistance from Paul Woods, science teacher, and Christine Hicks, English teacher. “Mrs. Hicks and Mr. Woods have made it clear that we are the directors, so we call the shots, but they’re going to be around watching certain rehearsals just to see how they go and offering advice to us,” Verdon said.

Though production is just starting, Cappetta and Verdon described what they were most nervous about and excited to see develop over the upcoming weeks of rehearsal. In particular, Cappetta discussed two major consequences of being a director: the thrill and the stress. “I’m looking forward to seeing improvement and seeing the evolution of what will hopefully be a great one-act that I direct. I think it’s going to be a lot of work,” Cappetta said. “The director of the show has all of the answers. When you’re a director, you have to know what’s going on all the time; you have to have a vision. It’s all up to you.”

Verdon agreed with Cappetta’s assessment, but stated that she was most excited to see the final product. “I’m just excited to see the students perform it. I don’t often get to be an audience member because more often than not, I’m in it. So I’m just excited to see everything come together,” she said.

Overall, the two student directors encouraged their peers to see the end result. “We thought we should give the Central student body a good laugh before the end of the year. So we would love it if as many people came to see it as possible because it shows support for fellow Central students, on and off stage,” Verdon said.

Cappetta said, “We really want everyone to come see these one-acts because it’s really going to be a very cool thing—something that your classmates created. This isn’t an adult’s vision. It’s kids from Central picking this up from scratch.”

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