One-act Festival makes solid debut

May 6, 2008 — by James Jiang

Abraham Lincoln was elected to office in 1846; Kennedy was elected 1946. Lincoln was shot in the Ford Theater; Kennedy was shot in a car called Lincoln, made by Ford. Lincoln was shot in a theater and the assassin ran to a warehouse; Kennedy was shot from a warehouse and his assassin hid in a theater. Coincidence or conspiracy?

Senior Sean Pierce’s one-act play, The Complete History of America: Abridged, taught these and many other interesting lessons of American history. The show premiered on the weekend of April 17-19, along with An Actor’s Nightmare and The Death of Trotsky, directed by senior Nelson MacGowan and junior Eddie Zhang, respectively.

“I think it was very well received by the audience,” said Pierce. “Everyone came up to me afterwards and told me it was a great show, very funny, and very well run. I felt that overall it went very well.”

The shows were part of the first annual One Act Festival, which consists of eight separate shows and one movie directed by eight seniors and one junior. Due to the length of the shows and other factors, the festival was spread across two weekends, April 17-19 and 25-27. However, because one of the weekends conflicted with the band and orchestra trip to San Diego, many music department students were unable to attend the second weekend.

“I think while we wouldn’t necessarily have a choice [with the scheduling], if we do this again, it should be scheduled at a different time than the band trip,” said Pierce, who is in band.

The success of the One Act Festival can be largely attributed to the many hours of preparation that shaped the plays.

Directors often found themselves in new predicaments and had to adjust accordingly.

“It takes a lot more time and commitment than people originally think,” said senior Kevin Cho, who directed The Spot, which played on the second weekend. “Just because you have an idea how a play wants to be, just the logistics of props, costumes, getting rehearsal times, getting everyone together and keeping every on track—it was challenging.”

For Pierce, however, the directing process was easier. His show only had three actors, all of whom were scripted to play themselves.

As such, the directing process was easier and portions of the play could be improvised.

“The script is written to allow the director and the actors to come up with a lot of their own actions, movements and character choices so it was easy for me to tell them what to do or to have them do what they felt was fun,” said Pierce.

Although the festival was the last opportunity for seniors to be involved in a high school show, many have expressed a desire to continue to pursue theater in college.

“That’d be cool if I could [direct later on],” said Cho. “I mean I’m not going to go out of my way to direct, but if I get a chance to direct, I’ll definitely do it.”

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