Students direct and produce one-act plays for Actoberfest


Rachel Cho and Sally Kuan

As winter approaches, the Drama Club has entered the play season.  Students produced and performed one-act plays on the weekend of Oct. 26 in their annual Actoberfest.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for students to explore different areas of theater,” said Drama Club adviser Ms. Danielle Liss. Her co-adviser is Ms. Gloria Vaserstein.

Actoberfest is an annual not-for-profit program run by Drama Club students.  Students choose one-act plays and cast, direct, and practice on their own.  Admission is free, and all props and costumes were financed by donations and intermission bake sales.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the show,” said sophomore Crystal Ren prior to the event.  “I saw Actoberfest last year and I thought it was really well done.  I liked that the students ran it instead of the teachers, so that it was from an interesting perspective.”

The Drama club has held Actoberfest, annually for the past twenty years. This years’ production was a collection of seven one-act plays, directed and performed by Schreiber students.  The tradition began with a group of students who wanted an opportunity to display one-act plays as opposed to the regular large stage productions.

“There isn’t really much opportunity for people to get a part in the two main stage shows,” said sophomore and cast member Sameer Nanda.  “The good part about Actoberfest is that it allows people to really showcase their talent when they might not have been able to otherwise.”

This year’s theme was comedy, and the show included an improvisation group in addition to the one-act plays.  The Improvables, Schreiber’s student improvisation troupe, performed and interacted with the audience in-between plays.  This group included seniors Ashley Larsen and Delia van Praag, juniors Sabrina Brennan and Stephanie-Anne Thomsen, and sophomore Lena Kogan.  In preparing for the Actoberfest, the group practiced playing the four different improv games with various scenarios ahead of time.  None of the lines were planned to maintain an on-the-spot, improvisational performance.

Students selected professionally-written plays, and casted, directed, and acted in them themselves.

“It’s actually not that difficult,” said student director junior Sydney Ronis.  “As you read the script, ideas just come naturally.  And everyone gives all that they have.”

“I’m really excited to be a part of the show this year,” said cast member sophomore Tessa Peierls.  “The cast is amazing and it was such a great experience.”

All directors, cast members, and staff advisors Ms. Liss and special education teacher Ms. Gloria Vaserstein committed to producing the show.  Members rehearsed several days a week, both in and out of school, preparing for a total of six weeks.

“The good part of Actoberfest is that each show is an individual group,” said Nanda.  “Everyone develops close relations.”