One Acts

A mysterious government agency, an actor pushed too far, a pushy princess who just divorced, and the Devil herself… all in one place.

For the sixth year, Frederick Theatre and Film are presenting their Student-Directed One Act Festival this upcoming Saturday, September 10th in the Frederick auditorium. Six seniors will present four plays under thirty minutes each while following competitive rules restricting their setting, costuming, and staging.

The One Acts Festival provides a chance for seniors to get a taste of what directing is like and produce a show in the end. The seniors hold auditions, cast actors into their play, direct, and produce a short play themselves. These plays are then performed in front of an audience, as well as adjudicators who will judge each play and give feedback to the actors and directors.

I get to see it from the other side. Normally, I’m trying to act, or do something in the musical, but this time I’m directing the costumes, the hair, to makeup.” – Maddison Viola Price-Kholert, director of Cindy and Julie. 

Presenting a one act is more than just holding rehearsals, though. To keep a level playing field, each play has to use the same set of lights and stage area. The set for each play must also fit into a 5’ x 5’ square, with enough space for everyone a part of the play to have at least one foot fit in it. These rules are modifications of the rules for competing in the American Asoociation of Community Theatre competitions held nationwide.

As for my box, my biggest issue with dealing with it, is trying to get that coffin in and out. [. . .] and it was too long to lay down. But you know, its really heavy to pick up, so we had get like three people to like try to stand it up.” – Kaydence Young, director of A Cold Day in Hell. 

A greater challenge for many directors is taking their sets out of the “box” and setting up their play in only five minutes. The cast and directors also have five minutes after their play is done to pack everything back into the box, and the rules mean everything—if a single crumb of food or splinter of set is left outside the box, the show is disqualified.

“For set up and take down, it’s not as hard as you think. It just takes time and making sure you work as a team to do it. [ . . .] just making sure that we’re all working together and putting everything where it needs to be.” – Giada DeJulio, directing In Facebook Wii Trust, with Joelle Richard. 

 

Still, these rules don’t limit the shows as much as one would think—in fact, these rules encourage, many directors to become more creative with their shows.

“There is so much creative liberty, [. . .] the directors have liberty to mold their show into what they’d like it to be, but then also—depending on the director, the actors also have that liberty where they can take their characters and their situations and kind of make it their own.” – Micah Wittler, directing A Curtain Call to Arms with Ethan Noyes.

This year’s festival has been slightly more stressful than festivals in the past. Typically, the One Act Festival are held in the second semester of in winter, but this class of senior’s wanted to shake things up a bit and have it at the start of school, and so held auditions on that first day back. Though that casting was unlike any other since the majority of One Acts had larger casts which, when all combined was more than the students that auditioned. So, many of the actors were picked for two different One Acts, called double-casting.

It is a week shorter than previous season have been, so we’ve had to be more on top of everything. We’ve had to have shorter time for our actors to memorize our lines, design our set, do all our tech, practice.” – Ethan Noyes, directing A Curtain Call to Arms, with Micah Wittler.

Double-casting has certainly been the curveball, making it harder for actors memorize their lines and attend their rehearsals because of conflicting schedules. But directors rose to the occasion with every challenge they faced.

“I’d say it wasn’t the same as everyone else who’s been double-casted because, originally I was cast in one show, and then Kaydence was short an actor and she really needed someone to join. I’ve been doing pretty well [. . .] I’m just really happy to be in One Acts.” – Brayden Spotts, 

 

So, if you’re planning to go, here’s all you need to know:

  • The House will be open at 9:45am.
  • At 10am, Round One will begin with “A Curtain Call to Arms,” then “Cindy & Julie.”
  • At 11:30-11:45am the audience will leave while the Round One Actors get out of costume/makeup.
  • From 11:45 to 12:15pm, the Round One performers will receive their adjudication while the Round Two performers and techs eat lunch.
  • The House will open back up at 12:45pm.
  • Round Two will begin at 1pm with “In Facebook Wii Trust,” then “A Cold Day in Hell.”
  • From 2:45-3:15, Round Two Performers will receive their adjudication.
  • At 3:45 the House will open back up for awards.
  • At 4pm the awards will be given out.