Act-oberfest showcases the talent of the student body

Eli Lefcowitz, Opinions Editor

Autumn finally arrived and so did the Drama Club’s Act-oberfest. Not to be confused with the German beer festival; Act-oberfest is the first Drama Club showcase of the year that features one-act plays directed and acted entirely by students.  Students worked tirelessly to bring these one act plays to life on Oct. 23-25, and their efforts were, as usual, rewarded with attentive audiences and impressed faces all around.

After introductions from co-presidents Max Miranda and Alexandra DeAngelis and vice president Jenna Cohen, the curtains opened to the first show, “The Interview”, written by A. R. Gurney and directed by senior Jenna Cohen, featuring herself and junior Daliah Bernstein.  The show portrayed the relationship between mother and hard-of-hearing but lovable daughter, Cohen, as she returns from a college interview to reveal to her mother she did not use her hearing aids.  The show is slightly poignant and overall cute, a light preface to the bold pieces that followed.

The second show, “My Child,” written by Kat Rovlic and directed by junior Sarah DeMarino, proved to be a stark contrast from its clean-cut predecessor.  The show depicted the two contrasting mindsets of a pregnant and indignant fifteen-year-old, portrayed by the ever-sassy senior Stefanie Epstein, and her jealous but caring infertile aunt, played by junior Sophia Andreadis.

The show, also featuring the young talents of freshmen Adam Keane and Katy Ducharme, sophomore Luke Jeffrey, junior Lily Welsh, and senior Bridget Doherty, was dark in every sense of the word.

The young teen contemplated abortion after being thrown out by both her parents and her boyfriend, only to be greeted by her desperate aunt.  The show ended on a cliffhanger, and received moderate applause.

The next show in the lineup was a bright, comical sun appearing out of the intense cloud of show two. “Two Cats, no Dogs,” written by Terry Roueche and directed by sophomore Julia Gurlitz, played on the idea that we don’t always say exactly what we’re thinking, especially when talking to someone we’re interested in.

Junior Ellie Bain represented a young lady with a crush on junior Jeffrey Lockom, who is equally infatuated with her.  They both attempt to politely flirt with each other while their “thoughts,” played by juniors Julia Hayden and Christian Hill, burst with enthusiasm and passion.  The show was funny and slightly over-the-top, a nice way to end a generally adequate first act.

The second act proved that the best really is saved for last, as the drama and comedy were amped up to new heights. “Sorry, Wrong Number” by Lucille Fletcher was the first act, a classic 1940’s-style thriller directed by junior Anna Cohen, in which invalid sophomore Isabelle Verdino overhears a murder plot while innocently attempting to call her working husband.  Verdino’s character attempts to retrace the call and unveil the killers. Verdino played the part effortlessly, and could easily be a modern Hitchcock heroine. In the end, the character discovers that she is the one the killers, played by freshman Max Welsh and junior Sydney Morrissey, are attempting to murder, and the show ends with a shadowy figure strangling her with a telephone wire.  The show also featured the talents of freshmen Daisy Griffin, Piper Woods and Delasia Vanterpool, and sophomore Emma Goldman.

The second show of the second act was “Battle Tactics” by Andy Haynes and directed by senior Max Miranda, which featured a four person cast entirely of freshmen, all of whom performed at a level equivalent to their older peers. Freshman Matthew DeMarino, playing the knightly character Sandane the Righteous, led the cast and subsequently stole the show with his hilarious portrayal of a jaded knight tired of riding around with “children.” He was accompanied by freshman Veronica Lee, playing a sassy and cunning acrobat, Jeffrey, the lovable and ‘pantsless’ barbarian, and freshman Megan Day, the youthful wizard who longs to please Sandane with her favorite power of illumination.

Lastly, Act-oberfest ended with a crescendo of laughter, in the play “Sure Thing” written by David Ives and directed by DeAngelis, which played on the idea of changing the ideals of the person you’re on a date with to match your own, all with the simple ding of a waiter bell. This two person comedy featured junior Kelsey Weisburd as a young lady simply reading her book at a local restaurant and senior Evan Gilmore as the simple man who approaches her in an attempt to win a date.

What ensues is a comedic triumph of Gilmore rapidly switching personalities while Weisburd desperately dings her bell, hoping to land on her perfect man in the process.

In between each show, the cast and crew are given time to adjust backstage while The Improvables, led by juniors Sally Hecht and Allison Winter and featuring sophomores Una Stopford, Jack Gilsinen and Sarah Mannix, performed improv games with suggestions from the audience.

The group, which included students entirely new to the improvisational troop, was awkward at times, sometimes struggling to find new ideas to move the scenes in different directions, but they were generally enthusiastic and eager to learn.