Three Milton Students to Direct Highly Anticipated One Acts
by Hana Tatsutani on Friday, January 13th, 2017
Q: What is your play about?
Alex: My play is a comedy about a guy and a girl who meet at a party. Basically, they start chatting and begin to realize that they’ve actually met before. What’s unique about the play is that there is this “Loudspeaker Voice” which is actually a person kind of directing the characters in a way. The voice comments on different aspects of the conversation like an instructional video would.
Henry: I’m directing Face Divided by Edward Allan Baker. The show focuses on a mother who has brought her daughter to the emergency room after she apparently fell down the basement stairs, but as the show goes on it focuses more on the mother and the father and their relationship as young parents. The show is really dark and intense, especially compared with the previous productions I’ve directed.
Dorsey: My play was written in the 1920s about two elderly people who meet at a party and bond over their criticisms of the younger generation. They then go on to explain their lives up to that point. It’s really sweet and a little bit comical.
Q: What has the process been like of writing and directing the play? Have you modified the play much as you’ve worked with the actors?
Alex: So the play was already written by David Ives, so my job is to direct the play. We are trying to keep with the written text.
Henry: Since the shows cannot be self written, a lot of the early work is pouring over collections of short stories until you find something that resonates with you. Mr. Parisi was really helpful by steering me in the right direction by suggesting a variety of playwrights, and I found myself drawn to Face Divided and the struggle of this young couple. We just had our first full rehearsal this past Friday, and I really love working in a full directorial position. This is my second year of directing One Acts so I knew what I was in for, but I love working with actors on their characters. Face Divided doesn’t have any fancy blocking or anything, so the majority of the work I’ve done with my actors has been character work, asking them what their characters’ thoughts are and why they are acting the way they do. I love the language in the script, and we haven’t had to modify the script too heavily besides some words to bring it to a high school level, but that doesn’t mean this play is a watered down show; the scenes in the One Act are very intense.
Dorsey: Directing has been a really eye-opening experience. I have done a lot of theater, but always as the actor. It feels liberating and overwhelming to be entirely in control of every little detail– the play, the music, the actors, the blocking, the nuances. Since my play was written in 1920s England, but we decided accents weren’t a great idea, I’ve modified the play so there are no references to England. I haven’t made many modifications, but I want my direction to be based on what the actor feels is natural, so I could see further modifications in the future. It’s a balance though – you want to be really creative but you also have to keep in mind the writer’s vision and the integrity of the play.
Q: How do One Acts differ from typical milton plays in their preparation and execution?
Alex: One Acts, as the name entails, only consist of one act. Therefore, the play is shorter than a typical play. Because of that, the One Act rehearsals are less frequent than a traditional play. However, due to that time constraint, we, directors, are pushed to really get everything out of the short plays, from emotions to physical aspects. The execution of the play is also not as large. The sets will be smaller and more minimalistic.
Henry: The main difference between One Acts and “proper” Milton shows is the amount of student interaction. Obviously in typical shows at Milton students play a big part in putting together a show, but with One Acts every aspect of the show is put together by a very small amount of students. My cast and I will be finding all of the props, set pieces, and costumes for the show. The One Acts also allows the actors to make more distinct choices with interesting characters, and the smaller scale of the shows allows the content to often be much more offbeat when compared to Main Stage productions. Last year Marcus Green directed a show about human trafficking, something I doubt would be able to see in King Theatre.
Dorsey: One Acts are a lot more relaxed as far as I’ve seen in terms of schedule and rehearsal. I think a big difference between regular plays at Milton and the One Acts is that most of the One Act directors are figuring out the play with the actors, rather than the director being the chief authority on the play.
Q: What do you enjoy about directing One Acts and what in your opinion makes One Acts special?
Alex: I think what makes the One Acts so special is that they are the only real time for an individual student to direct a play. Rather than assisting with a play, the student can basically do what he feels best. I personally enjoy the One Acts because the group of actors is smaller and more intimate.
Henry: I love being able to have being able to explore different topics that aren’t often explored with main stage productions. I also enjoy building a show with the rest of my cast that often feels more dynamic than other Milton shows.
Dorsey: I enjoy directing the One Acts because it is a side of theater I have not experienced before. They’re special because it’s a unique theater experience: the directors are learning how to direct and be effective, which is playing out in the actors, who are experiencing probably a more experimental way of directing than normal plays, and then when the audience sees the final product, I think the process of getting to that opening night is more evident than other plays.
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