The spring of 2015 HHS One-Acts, which were written by well-known authors, members and alumni of the Theatre 370, allow current HHS students stage time, playwriting or directing experience.
Essentially, One-Acts are a series of plays, each under 30 minutes, with casts of two to five people, produced by the students, for the students. This year, there are seven plays which will start at 7:30 on the night of May 15. Tickets will be sold at the door and the event will be about two hours long, with a five-minute intermission between each act.
“One-Acts are so special because they give people opportunities to have a lead role and learn so much about acting. It is also such a good program which brings in people from many social groups, not just the regular ‘theatre kids’,” said Holliston junior Jake Barber, one of the theater’s student producers, who is the coordinator and master of ceremonies (MC) of this year’s festival.
Auditions took place in early February, and rehearsals run for three months. By the time tech week rolls around, each director is given a lighting plot. The stage is essentially washed, meaning that the whole area is lit, but directors are allowed to choose one special area of light for a specific point during their plays. Junior Emily Quinan controls the lighting while senior Monica Valli does the sound cues.
Some kids that are involved in this every year and who are dedicated to the theater include Barber, senior Ben Rutberg, who has written two plays this year, junior Megan Milligan and sophomores Abbi O’Leary and Kyra Allen.
Mr. Brian Hickey, the theater’s artistic director has “…no idea, really” of who will stand out in the One-Acts this year. He said that there are several kids who’ve never done theater before and they might shock everybody – people just have to come and see.
“Auditions were fun, a bit nerve-racking as we only had a minute or so to look at the script, but overall I thought it was an interesting process,” said sophomore Olivia Caldwell, an actress in a show titled, “Hold For Three”, directed by senior Abby Fowler.
Mr. Hickey said that he wants these plays to be student-composed, meaning that he is completely hands-off. In the past, there were complications when he tried letting go, and it didn’t happen – and he wants it to happen.
This event began many years ago at the high school. After Mr. Hickey, new to the school community in 2003, heard from the seniors then that these had been done here in the past, he loved the proposal by the student producers to bring them back. In 2005, they had five alumni come back to direct.
“It lasted about four to five years (seniors directed the following three) and then was in hiatus for a couple of years,” said Mr. Hickey. This was due to inconsistency, such as the lack of interest, and directing and scheduling issues. “We revisited it in 2011 and it’s been running consecutively each year since then.”
He also said that the process isn’t easy. First, one must apply to be a director by e-mailing him about his/her interest. He wants the directors to have had some experience with theater in the past so that he feels comfortable handing them a huge role in the event.
Mr. Hickey mainly helps facilitate the process and aids Barber.
“I hope that this year I will be able to run the festival smoothly without any bumps in the road and put on an amazing show,” said Barber. “…I have very high expectations for my directors.”
“It’s a more relaxed process with little commitment and few rehearsals which may appeal to students who are new to acting and want to ‘test out the waters’ … of Holliston’s drama department,” said Caldwell.
The members of the theater start planning the One-Acts in the fall and the process is officially started in January. But the problems are seemingly never-ending, as they had already needed to reschedule auditions for this year.
“My hope is that it will grow…,” said Mr. Hickey, since its not an official thing here.
As a basic guide, Mr. Hickey tells the kids that for each page of the script, there should be an average of about one hour of preparatory time. They should have a read through by the end of March, and by April they should have their first blocking rehearsal, and be performance-ready by the first week in May.
“But if it all comes together, it’s awesome,” he said. They sell out and have about 120 people there. The audience sits on risers on the stage, creating a small, almost interactive, black box theater.
Mr. Hickey said that the plays have been cast and the kids are excited to get going.
Mr. Hickey said that the plays have been cast and the kids are excited to get going on their plays.