Student directors generate one act plays for comedic relief

Date: Dec. 9 and 10, 7 p.m.


Sam (1)

Year and major: junior double major in broadcast journalism and theatre

Play: “Sure Thing” by David Ives

About the play: Sure Thing is about a guy that comes into a coffee shop trying to hit on an attractive girl except the guy keeps saying the wrong things. Each time he says something that is not what the girl wants to hear a bell rings in the background. Each time the bell rings, the two go back in time and the guy changes his answer. At the end they realize they have a lot in common and leave the coffee shop to go on a date.

Casting: Melissa Fox, a junior media communications major with a minor in biology, as Betty

Daniel Grady, a freshman media communications major, as Bill

Why she chose them: They came to the audition and showed potential.

Auditions in spite of conflict: Even without the major being cut, we still had a great turn out. You can cut a major but you can’t cut someone’s love for theatre.

Setting: Modern day coffee shop, black stage with table and chairs center stage and props

Plans: Basically, simplicity is what I am going for. The script is interesting enough with a bell ruining lines so it is great, it really adds a lot to the show and the bell is a staple of David Ives.

Message: I hope that students learn that they should not be afraid to be who they are.

Why this play: I loved the awkwardness between the characters at first and how in the end they are together.

On directing: Of course I love to act but every part is crucial and I wanted to try my hand at directing. Through the experience so far, I’ve realized that acting really is my passion but I have enjoyed directing Sure Thing.

What’s left to do: Without holding scripts, actors are able to actually react to each other which is the key element. There is still a lot to prepare for the one acts like discussing costumes, making a brochure with the actors bios and headshots, along with finding music to play in the lobby and that is just a few of the basics.


nick (1)

Year and major: sophomore, broadcast journalism

Play: “Under the Balcony” by Bruce Kane

About the play: It reworks the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet with the adaptation of throwing in Casanova, who teaches Romeo how to pick up women.

Casting: Dellon Sander, a freshman undeclared major, as Romeo

Jack French, a junior philosophy major, as Casanova

Leah Sharer, a freshman theatre major, as Juliet

Why he chose them: I’ve worked with Jack French before on two productions as an actor and he just has a very easygoing way about him which fit very nicely with the role of Casanova. Dellon and Leah are both freshmen, but just at the auditions, they both had preferenced this play higher than some of the other plays, and they fit the parts that I was looking for.

Setting: Due to the fact that we’re having four plays in one night, we’re having as minimal stage and scenery pieces as possible. So really going to be utilizing the ground level where the audience is sitting as well as the stage to kind of show the balcony as onstage versus the ground with a bit of a modern twist to it updating the costumes to more of today’s tastes.

Message: I just really hope to be able to show people that theatre is always living and it reinvents itself. Shakespeare wasn’t even the first one to write Romeo and Juliet and I’m sure Bruce Kane won’t be the last to rewrite it. So to show that it can be updated to modern times and theatre continues to thrive.

Why the play: This play offers a really unique perspective because a lot of students learn about – at least in theatre history and their theatre classes – they learn a lot about the classic works of Shakespeare. But this play also takes it and adapts it to some of the modern techniques used so it’s not as lofty, per se or as grand as one would think a Shakespearean play is. It’s more down to earth and has more of a realist approach. So it does a good job of meshing the two roles.

On directing: It takes a certain amount of vision because you don’t just take a script and hand it to people and throw it together, though it seems like that’s kind of what you would do. You have to do a lot of scheduling and a lot of work with the actors to try to make sure that they not only have the lines down, but also have their character down.


lucciano (1)

Year and major: senior, double major, Spanish and theatre

Play: “An Actor’s Nightmare” by Christopher Durang

About the play: It’s about the main character who apparently is an actor but doesn’t know he’s an actor. So he is suddenly is in this dreamlike sequence of different plays that he has to perform in front of an audience but doesn’t know any of his lines and or what the plays are about.

Casting: Sean Verbitsky, a freshman history major, as George

Kelsey Ghirardo, a junior music major, as Sarah Siddons

Anna Hooker, a sophomore education and theatre major, as Ellen

Michael McCarter-Crellin, a freshman music education major, as executioner and Henry

Claudia Luque, a senior Spanish major, as stage manager

Why he chose them: During the audition when he [Verbitsky] read for George, he made me laugh a lot because he’s funny and the way he carries himself on the stage is very – he has a really good stage presence and I felt like I could play with that. He’s very malleable so that was good. And then I have Anna Hooker, who has a demeanor that is very gentle and soft and so I really needed that for my Ellen, so she got cast as Ellen. I have Michael McCarter-Crellin…He was cast because he read for three different roles during auditions and read all three of them very differently, so I liked his variety with his voice and his character playing, so I really liked that to cast him as two different roles. I have Claudia Luque. Her role is actually as a stage manager and she’s already working with props in Shakespeare’s or the current production. So I thought that she would relate to that role itself and play it perfectly for the one act.

I have my lead or co-lead, I guess, Sarah Siddons, her name is Kelsey Ghirardo. She read for one role only and that is the role she got because I had her in mind for that. She plays a grand actress, the best actress in the world, and when she came on to audition, she read for that role and she just stormed the stage and trampled over everything else with that role. So she wasn’t called up to read again just because she did a really good job for that role itself.

Setting: So the setting for mine is going to be very simple so we can play with it throughout the one act because it allures to three different eras, really, from Shakespearean-Elizabethan to modern to ‘Private Lives’ which is comedy, there’s drama in there which is ‘Hamlet,’ ‘A Man for All Seasons,’ which is also an older play. So there’s not one setting; there’s going to be multiple in there, so that’s going to be one of the challenges of my play is that we have to portray four very distinct plays within one play with one character which is George or Sean Verbitsky throughout all four of them having to catch up to each one that he’s in.

Message: That it’s fun. I’m hoping that people see because of at least my actors, are not a part of the Salomon Theatre, so I feel like if their friends come and see that it’s super fun and really funny to be a part of it, then they’ll get involved. Not necessarily get involved with theatre but get involved in things around the school, on campus, that there’s possibility for that. Out of the play itself, I want them to laugh and have a good time.

Why the play: This one is the one that stuck out the most because it is something that actually does happen to actors, that they forget or they have dreams where they forget all their lines and everything, so it’s relatable to me and I wanted to do it for this.

On directing: So getting everyone together and playing off each other’s energy, so that’s always a good thing. That’s why we have that, just to make sure the chemistry is there between the actors, not just reading lines or spitting lines but actually acting out the play. So that’s where we are, kind of solidifying our final product that we can present.


russell (1)

Year and major: junior, theatre major

Play: “Variations on the Death of Trotsky” by David Ives

About the play: It is the story of the great Russian Revolutionary, Leon Trotsky, after his exile. However, this is where the story begins to take a bizarre turn. On April 20, 1940, Ramon Mercader, a Spanish communist agent posing as the Trotsky family’s Mexican gardener smashed a mountain climbing ax into Trotsky’s skull. The play is an absurdist scenario in which the great revolutionary and his patient wife attempt to deal with the ice climber’s ax in Leon Trotsky’s skull. Will Trotsky be able to cheat death? Will his legacy save him from this fate? I think we all know the answer to these age-old struggles.

Casting: Taylor Virtue, a junior biology major, as Leon Trotsky

Stephanie Knepper, a freshman nursing major, as Mrs. Trotsky

William Alvarado, a junior psychology and media communications major, as Ramon Mercader

Why he chose them: Each of the actors displayed great energy and instincts that were well suited to the madcap, strange premise. Also, Taylor Virtue bears a passing resemblance to Trotsky!

Setting: The setting is 1940 in Coyacan, Mexico. We will not have too much in the way of a set, so the period will have to be shown primarily through costuming.

Message: Personally, I view this play as a new interpretation of a tragic Greek myth. The hero battles against fate and his own death, striving in many ways that may or may not work. I find this play a very profound take on an old-age story.

On Directing: I have been in theatre since I was 12, and it’s been great to finally experience a play from the director’s perspective. I find myself passing down the wisdom of all those in my past who taught me how do the art I now love. It’s awesome to see the actors grow every rehearsal, and I’m fortunate to have such a great cast!