Scripts are finalized and lines are prepared as auditions for One Acts arrive. Both directors and applicants have organized and planned for this, each nervous in their own way. After months of work, students will begin their first step in directing their first production.
One Acts are a chance for the directing class to showcase their final project, directing their own play with guidance from Mrs. Anne MacDougall. All nine students in the directing class carefully select scripts from which to direct, forming a vision for their actors’ performance.
The directing students are in charge of costumes, props, blocking scenes and technical aspects, all tasks that often fall under a director’s job description. This class demands they are prepared with a patient and understanding mindset towards not only their cast, but themselves as well. Without a confident mentality, it can be extremely difficult for girls to recognize their vision and execute it.
Throughout the semester, the directing class has developed skills to finish the class with a polished piece to present in front of classmates and family.
Scripts are chosen from older materials, and newer acts from a publisher are also available. These materials include comedy, drama horror, romance and much more. Many are complex with multiple characters and sets.
“To take a play written by someone else and bring your own interpretation is very difficult since you need to stay true to the original text,” said Senior Cece Williams, a student in the class. “In many plays the author gives you their insight on what they vision the play as, and it really benefits your own as well. At first it is frustrating to find your vision but once you know your play and you are passionate about it, your mind will follow and creativity will take over.”
However, there are challenges that go further beyond the scripts.
As Mercy is an all-girls school, finding boys to portray characters can be extremely difficult. In most cases, boys who would want to perform for One Acts are already involved in their own school’s drama program.
Rehearsals begin on March 15, the day after auditions. Rehearsals generally end at 4:15 p.m., lasting an hour in length. On May 5, the directors and casts will perform in the Drama Studio to peers in the Festival of One Acts.
“One Acts give students the opportunity to express their vision through a piece that represents their personality and what they are passionate about,” said Williams. “Not many people at Mercy know about the directing class unless they are involved with the theater department, which makes me sad because this is a class that is absolutely open to anyone that has any interest. Creating and directing a play on your own not only gives you leadership experience, but [also] a great sense of pride once you see it all come together. I love watching shows that have a little twist to them, and making people laugh brings me so much joy.”