Wander into the busy auditorium a week before the One Act Festival takes center stage at Burlington High School (BHS) and one finds clumps of students furiously practicing lines, running scenes, and cramming for upcoming tests before final rehearsals begin.
The Festival, an annual event at BHS, is “an evening of student and teacher-directed short plays” running on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, February 19, 20, 21 at 7:00 PM. This year’s plays feature three original scripts written by students.
Rehearsals over the past seven weeks have been chaotic and fun for everyone involved in the production. Victoria Welsh, a senior, directing her own creation Remember Me as I Am, recounts how one funny scene about a boy trying to guess another character’s instrument continues to make her cast laugh.
“He guesses oboe and the girl says ‘ew no’ and he says ‘yeah, that’s fair who voluntarily plays the oboe?” Welsh said.
Ironically the girl who is disgusted by the boy’s guess plays oboe in real life.
Leesa Guay-Timpson, the BHS German teacher directs the musical and the three acts during the Fall and Spring and advises the One Acts during the winter. Many people are double or triple cast in shows. Guay-Timpson loves watching students play contrasting roles.
“It’s fun to see them be a goofball in one play and super serious in another,” Guay-Timpson said.
Even with entertaining rehearsals often, the last week before any show is referred to jokingly as hell week by the theater community. Procrastinators are out of time.
“For the directors, it’s really hectic because we need to make sure the show runs smoothly without it hiccuping or people, I don’t know, dying,” Stampul reported.
The directors expressed excitement and nervousness to share their hard work with Burlington.
“Once it [a performance] is on the stage it is out of your hands and I think that’s the part that is most stressful for me. There is nothing I can do if something goes wrong because I am not up there with them,” Welsh said.
The directors and performers encouraged everyone to come see the shows because it is important that the community supports something produced by students with students and for students.
Guay-Timpson also feels passionate that students, parents, and friends should all purchase a ticket.
“Live theater is totally different than film because it goes away, you cannot capture it. The chemistry between the audience and the actors really makes the performance. People need to experience what that’s like… Live theater is a really important part of being a human,” she whispered as students practiced a dramatic scene.
The 2020 One Act Festival Program:
- Remember Me as I Am written and directed by Victoria Welsh
- The First Year I Missed written and directed by Lea Mihok and Zoe Boray
- Acting written and directed by Wyatt Harte
- The Nine Worst Breakups of all Time written by Ian McWethy, directed by Grace Perry
- Regina Flector Wins the Science Fair written by Marco Ramirez, directed by Ezra Benzing
- To Date or Not to Date directed by Anya Stampul
- Night and the Proofreader directed by Sven Strenroos and Sebastian Holcroft
- Rumple Schmumple by Megan Gogerty, directed by Tammie Ledoux-Moody