Upper/Under raises the bar for Schreiber one-acts

Elizabeth Muratore, Staff Writer

On May 8, the Drama Club brought back the Upperclassmen/Underclassmen Showcase. This event was first held in 2012 as Chris Falcioni’s (‘12) senior experience project. This year’s Upper/Under showcased seven one-act comedies in which upperclassmen directed underclassmen.

The first show, entitled The Remote, was directed by senior Rachel Ellerson and featured sophomores Anna Cohen and Daliah Bernstein.  It centered on two women following TV coverage of a hotel gunman while realizing that the gunman was closer to their room than they had thought.  The show was hilarious from beginning to end. One instance of the remote smashing a vase was particularly comedic.

“It was a really great experience. It was my first time directing so I didn’t really know what to expect, but it ended up being really awesome,” said Ellerson.

The Goon was directed by senior Jack Fishman and starred sophomores Sophia Andreadis, Allison Winter, and Jeffrey Lockom. It focused on two movie characters vying to be the hero, all while realizing the heroism of their characters within the movie’s narrative.  The competitive dynamic between Andreadis and Winter was the driving force in this uproariously funny one-act.

 “Upper/Under is an experience that not only the audience enjoys, but that the cast and crew enjoy as well,” said Fishman.  “It’s an experience of learning as well as upperclassmen teaching what they know and showing the underclassmen how a show operates, how scenes are blocked, how to work on accents, how to develop characters, and so on.”

The third show, The Mouse and The Raven, was directed by senior Ariel Waldman, and it starred sophomores Lily Welsh and Carly Feldman and freshmen Valentina Scotto, Isabelle Verdino, and Una Stopford.

It dealt with high-society ladies reading their obituaries in advance of their deaths and being unsatisfied with how they are portrayed.  The actors all depicted hilariously privileged ladies and two secretaries at their wit’s end.

Iceberg to Nowhere was directed by senior Kim Winter and starred sophomore Katrina Wasserman and freshman Sarah Mannix as two British penguins waiting at an “iceberg-stop.”  Their amusing posh accents combined with many hilarious deadpan lines and ridiculous penguin costumes made for a thoroughly entertaining one-act.

The following show, Good Morning Class, was directed by junior Stefanie Epstein and featured sophomore Sarah DeMarino as the teacher of a class of eccentric and unruly students, played by sophomores Sydney Morrissey, Julia Hayden, and Nicole Manasseri and freshmen Amanda Krantz and Peri Goldblatt.  The distinct personalities of the students all lent themselves well to this comical show.

“I was so lucky to have been picked to direct Upper/Under!” said Epstein.  “Usually I act within the productions but with directing, I really got the chance to understand how a show truly comes together! If you ever get the chance to direct—DO IT! It’s something you’ll never forget!”

Surprise was directed by senior Sophie Brett-Chin and starred sophomore Ellie Bain and freshmen Jack Gilsenan and Emma Goldman in an amusing tale of a young woman becoming increasingly frustrated with her psychic boyfriend.  The “psychic” aspect of the show was consistently entertaining as all of the actors had a strong stage presence and were genuinely endearing and likable.

The final show was An Afternoon In The Life of Steve and Sheila, directed by senior Sameer Nanda and starring sophomores Kelsey Weisburd and Sally Hecht as two sheep debating the pros and cons of Steve (Weisburd) sitting on a barrel and “being something.”  Despite its silly premise, this show tackles deeper themes of self-confidence and the importance of a fulfilling life. Beneath their fuzzy exteriors, the actors both conveyed these themes well.

“I learned that directing is more about bringing the actors to get there themselves—to not tell them what to do but tell them how to get there,” said Nanda.

Overall, the event was a huge success, and it was clear from the quality of every show that the actors and directors alike truly committed themselves to this production.