One Acts give seniors new directing experience


Griffin Thissen

Seniors casted students for their One Acts on Dec. 4-5. "The seniors get their chance to explore a different creative experience than just being an actor," One Act Director Eric Severson said.

Seniors held One Act auditions Dec. 4-5 to get their shows cast before Winter break. One act plays offer an experience for students to express themselves in a smaller cast. The plays are short, no more than 30 minutes, and are directed by seniors who prepare every aspect of the play: casting, costumes, set design, blocking, props and performance. The student shows perform in tandem with the MSHSL One Act, directed by US Theater Director Eric Severson on the night before the preliminary state competition.

“The seniors get their chance to explore a different creative experience than just being an actor. They get to work as directors to create the play themselves,” Severson said.

In addition, there are benefits to having smaller casts.

“One Acts have smaller casts than big plays, so I get to know the students more. I also enjoy the advisor part. I get to coach the seniors that direct, and it’s fun to see the students experience the stress and excitement and understand more about directing,” Severson said.

Senior Lillian Pettigrew agrees with Severson’s beliefs.

Directing comes with its own fair share of stress.  For example, my co-director and I are directing the play No Exit, which is a full hour and a half when normally performed, so we had to cut about two thirds of the script to get it in at under the 30 minute time limit,” Pettigrew said.

Directing is not all stress as Pettigrew enjoys the art of theater.

“Honestly it just feels exciting every time I revisit [No Exit].  There’s so much depth and meaning in every single line, which makes it pretty fabulous to work with as a director,” Pettigrew said.

Another aspect of One Acts for this group of directors is having a co-director. Pettigrew is co-directing No Exit with Dianne Caravela.

“I definitely wouldn’t be able to do this if I didn’t have a co-director by my side.  It’s so great to be able to have a sounding off board for my strangest ideas and know that she will tell me honestly if they’re good or just insane,” Pettigrew said.

The One Act plays feature a variety of genres for all different play lovers. The senior directors are Tess Hick, Noa Carlson, Lillian Pettigrew, Dianne Caravela, Mira Zelle, Ellie Findell and Maya Shrestha. Each of the groups is doing their own independent work to create their plays. The play Peter/Wendy being directed by Eric Severson will be eligible for the national competition. The MSHSL One Act competition for Peter/Wendy will take place on January 27th, and possibly February 3rd.