Theatre majors display their directing prowess
THE SANTA CLARA
October 29, 2015
Before November’s theatrical main course of “Awake and Sing!”, the Department of Theatre and Dance whet some appetites with the annual One Acts Festival.
On Sunday, three theatre arts majors showcased their directorial prowess in the Fess Parker Theatre. The show sold out and each of the vignettes entertained the full house in their own way.
Mason’s “Sorry,” directed by junior Camila Biaggi, followed the strange connection between two NYC residents: Pat, a paranoid and routine-driven single woman, and Wayne, the man she shoots and later learns is her long-time stalker.
First-years Alexa Rojek and Anthony Dinkel brought the dilemma of loneliness to life with undeniable on-stage chemistry. Pat waffled if her need for companionship was so strong that she might befriend a man who has been stalking her for months. And Wayne wondered if the woman he’d been spying on was everything that he imagined her to be. The open-ended conclusion left offered an odd comfort.
Senior Lyndsey Brown directed “A Second of Pleasure,” which offered a snapshot of a extra-marital love affair. The couple, Kurt and Jess, struggled to maintain their relationships — with one another and their respective families — minutes before their train at Grand Central Station departs for a weekend country getaway.
The play brought out a more melancholy humor from self-proclaimed theatre “dabbler,” sophomore Jimmy Flynn and 13-year theatre veteran, freshman Ivanna Quiceno, as they explored her decision to end the fling and mend things with her Count Chocula-loving husband while he wondered if they had ever shared anything special.
The final and most dramatic of the one-acts was senior Abby René’s rendition of “Designer Genes,” a complex tale of the heartbreak and craziness that follows the loss of a child. When parents Wesley and Marian Jordan (played respectively by junior Jonathan Jaworski and sophomore Juliana Banuelos) lose their son Adrian to what is first stated as “heart failure” but later discovered to be homicide, they seek solace in Designer Genes, Inc., longing for a perfect child rather than an inherently vulnerable one.
While exploring the ethics involved in science’s efforts to play God, the actors placed equal if not more emphasis on the overwhelming human desire for control: after waiting 7 years, 4 months and 23 days for an appointment with Designer Genes Inc.’s Alice Fleming. The Jordans planned every detail for their child, but compromise their chances when Marian’s hysterical depression surfaces.
This weekend’s one-act play festival dared its audience to wrestle with the implications of three atypical relationships. The one-act plays foist unique demands on participants as the emotions must be far more concentrated than in full-length productions.
“Sometimes in a longer play, the plot and emotions have to be diluted at some point so it can stretch over a longer period of time. In a one-act, it’s more tense,” said director Lyndsey Brown. “From a director’s point of view, the main struggle is rehearsal time. Because it’s so concentrated, you have to get to the heart of the show pretty quickly.”
Lead actress Quiceno agrees, saying, “It’s up to the actors that the audience still feels the full range of everything, so you have to really work at making sure they enjoy it as much as they would a full-length production.”
But the limited length was of little concern to a seasoned director like Brown, who has been invested in performance and theatre since she was three years old. A two-time co-director of The Vagina Monologues at Santa Clara, Brown described the one-act experience as “humbling,” smiling as she reminisced on her passion for facilitating the emotional journeys of her actors.
“This show is a lot more personal than other things I’ve directed,” she said. “So far, I think it’s been my favorite directing experience.”
Contact Riley O’Connell at firstname.lastname@example.org.