Act-oberfest showcases student directing

Act-oberfest+showcases+student+directing

Pamela Hidalgo

Oedipus (senior Oren Barasch) consoling his mother, Jocasta (senior Megan Poulos), in a comedic variation of Oedipus titled “Oedi.”

Sabina Unni, Assistant Opinons Editor

The drama club “One Acts” of 2014 were a great success, as evidenced by a healthy audience at the show and by the steady peals of laugher and recognition throughout. This year’s plays were directed by sophomore Sarah DeMarino, juniors Alexandra DeAngelis and Max Miranda, and seniors Sophie Brett-Chin, Laynie Calderwood, Sameer Nanda, and Ariel Waldman. 
Between the plays, the audience was treated to the delightful antics of the “Improvables,” Schreiber’s own improv troupe. Directed by senior Lena Kogan and featuring Nanda, senior Jake Arlow, and sophomores Sally Hecht and Allison Winter, these extemporaneous, unscripted actors were fearless and hilarious.  Each time the Improvables came out on stage, the audience lit up.  Act-oberfest, a series of one act plays starring, directed by, and produced by students, is an annual show put on by the drama club.
DeAngelis,’ “The Players Romeo and Juliet,” was commissioned specifically for Act-oberfest. It starred frehman Sarah Mannix, junior Jordan Youner, and seniors Jesse Epstein, Kimberly Winter, and Arielle Waller. The show took place during the rehearsal process of a production of Romeo and Juliet, and perfectly intertwined behind-the-scenes antics with Shakespearean text. DeAngelis did a superb job with directing; the show featured constant motion and creative slapstick. One highlight was a choreographed dance to “Single Ladies.” The play was clever and relevant.
The second one act was entitled “Oedi,” and was directed by Nanda.  “Oedi” starred seniors Oren Barash and Megan Poulos, sophomore Ellie Bain, and junior Evan Gilmore. Although surprisingly lewd for high school, the actors managed to turn a Grecian tragedy into a contemporary comedy. From the variety of accents, ranging from British to Brooklyn, to the clever use of props (grapes were thrown across the stage), the final product was clearly a work of labor and love.
“This is a Test,” was directed by Miranda and starred freshman Jack Gilsenan, sophomores Jeffrey Lockom, Sydney Morrisey, Julia Hayden, and Diana Brennan, and juniors Bridget Doherty and Tyler Nelson. The play was a  clever take on an all-nighter.  The play mixed lighting and props to mimic dreams and falling asleep during tests. This show was overflowing with energy and excitement—Nelson had the audience laughing to tears with his impression of a loony teacher.
The fourth one act was “Anna Alone,” directed by DeMarino and starred juniors Jenna Cohen and Stephanie Epstein, sophomores Naome Sajnani and Kelsey Weisburg, and senior Tessa Peierls. Contrasting with the three comedies before, this one act was a somber and refreshing take on mental illness, displaying a meeting with a psychologist of a girl with multiple-personality-disorder. The direction for this show was poignant and beautiful, and the actors truly challenged themselves to achieve new levels of dramatic intensity. Epstein, in particular, was uninhibited and wild. This show did tackle a challenging issue and perhaps at times went over the heads of the audience.
“An Ongoing Examination on the True Meaning of Life,” the fifth one act, was directed by Brett-Chin and starred seniors Rachel Ellerson and Jack Fishman, and freshman Julia Gerlitz. The play made manifest the revisionary editing process of a playwright, and combined elements of comedy and romance.
“Directing this show was unlike any other one I have directed so far because in the past I’ve worked with large casts, and the cast of three made this a very personal experience,” said Brett-Chin. “At times it was daunting and difficult because there were no real characters to understand and instead a lot of witty one liners to perfect.”
Despite this challenge, the show was clean, funny, and used props to the fullest extent. Ellerson and Fishman had undeniable stage chemistry.
The sixth one act was “Do-Overs,” directed by Waldman and starring junior Kristen Nunnally, senior Wyndham-John Daly Stopford, and freshman Emma Goldman.
Although the show started out slow, it quickly picked up speed and was an adorable journey into the spirit world. The rivalries and banter between Nunnally and Stopford were highly entertaining, and the show was crisp and ultimately sweet.
“Ferris Wheel,” was the final performance and was directed by Laynie Calderwood and starred sophomore Christian Hill and freshman Isabelle Verdino. The setting of the show was limited geographically, in that the entire act took place on a motionless Ferris Wheel, but that didn’t limit the action.  Kudos to this play for accents, and actors that were playful and unique.
Schreiber’s dramatic production and literary talent was showcased in this engaging performance featuring innovative plots, settings and dialogue.