Senior Directed One Acts crush the stage


Maddy Verdoljak

Alastair johnsen (left) and Dorian Ackman (right) perform in Crime and Punishment (But Better) directed by Mathew Plesko on February 24

By Belle Modeen, Reporter

The ‘senior directed one-act’ took place this year Friday, Feb. 24, 2023 at 7pm in the PAC. It was divided into 3 different plays in one performance run by Mathew Plesko, Gwen Hall, and Olivia Erikson. For the one act, they all rehearsed after school, working around conflicts with other activities that actors were in like the Spring Musical ‘Newsies’.

Senior Gwen Hall was the director of her own one act ‘Quite the Fairytale’. Her cast practiced Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-5pm, mainly rehearsing in the library rooms, but moving to the PAC stage when the performance got closer. In auditions, she says that she looked for emotion and for actors making bold choices with eye contact. When providing her costumes for her show, she looked for colorful things in the costume shop, with her personal favorite being Gabe Killian’s pantaloons for his character, Prince Irwin.

“My goal for the One Act this year was to get it more known, and to make it more exciting since it’s not the easiest at advertising,” Hall said.. 

The senior one act had been a great success and a lot of work was put into the whole show.

Senior Mathew Plesko was a director for his own one act which was ‘Crime and Punishment (But Better)’, having originally five, but cutting it to four actors in it. They practiced anytime that was available, with the other one acts using the same spaces and conflicts with after school activities like the musical. He says that Amber Gilbert, the theater director, was a great source for guidance, and so was Andy Wolfe. He also mentioned that there was a lot of nervousness from most of the actors the night of, as well as from directors themselves.

“I like creating something when it starts from nothing and being a director is like therapy- not necessarily telling them things but helping actors grow into their characters,” says Plesko. 

There were a lot of rough spots going into the process of the one act, but it turned out great. The audition process was with the 3 directors. They looked for actors who made bold choices or movement with eye contact in their speaking. They decided on the roles together for who would fit best for each one act.  

Senior Olivia Erikson directed her own one act called the ‘Death of a Songbird.’ Her inspiration for her own written act was from the fall play this year, ‘Greek Mythology Olympiganza.’ She had always been obsessed with Greek mythology, researching more into other roles, and choosing Hera as her main story and plot. Originally, it was going to be about Echo and Narcissus, which was in one of the scenes in the act. In her act, there had been a lot of rough spots and stress with rehearsals, but her cast pulled it together with 4 people. They rehearsed Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

“I would say it was pretty hard not rehearsing in the PAC as often as the other directors and having an actor quit and not showing for most of the rehearsal making things stressful but I’m very proud how they all pulled it together,” says Erikson. 

The one act is a great way to create something from scratch and use your imagination to create the final product. It is mostly work done by seniors and actors guided by the directors of the theater department. 

Freshman Gabe Killian was an actor in ‘Quite the Fairy Tale’, directed by Gwen Hall. This was his first show and his role was Prince Irwin. He auditioned because he heard that his friend, Mitchell Koch, was auditioning. He says it was a different atmosphere. They would practice two days a week and get done before 5pm, so he could have time for homework or any extra activities. The most memorable thing about being in the cast for him was the set up day, getting everything ready, and the showday experience. 

“It’s different people, and I don’t know how to describe my emotions the night of, but it was definitely a different kind of feeling and nervousness,” says Killian. 

The senior directed one acts in the future definitely want more recognition for the great work that some of these amazing people put in with directing and practicing constantly.

Olivia Erickson (left), Gwen Hall (middle), and Mathew Plesko (right) bow after all of the performances are over on the PAC stage on February 24
(Maddy Verdoljak)
The Senior Directed One Act happened in the PAC ran by 3 seniors on February 24
(Maddy Verdoljak)