Seton Hall’s Theatre Council is hosting its first One Act Festival, a performance of student-directed short plays which will be held Friday, April 6 at 8 p.m. in the Theatre-in-the-Round. Students have the opportunity to participate as a director, a playwright or an actor.
Samantha Dyar, a sophomore theatre major and the vice president of Theatre Council said, “Theatre Council really wants the theatre program here to be a safe space where students can get their ideas out there. It’s a great way to practice the art of theatre before getting out into the professional world.”
Tia Robbins, the president of Theatre Council and a junior theatre performance major, credited fellow board member Elizabeth McCole as the inspiration for this event.
McCole, a junior theatre major, came up with the idea. Robbins said that McCole asked about doing this event and Theatre Council gave her a platform to help pursue her desires.
“We wanted the opportunity to feature student work and do something different from what we’ve done before,” Theatre Council Secretary Elizabeth Boucher added.
Boucher, a junior theatre and English major with a musical theatre minor, said she hopes that the students who direct will have valuable leadership experience and that everyone who participates will get the chance to have fun and explore their craft. Dyar said she hopes students will be able to tap into their creative side.
The Theatre Council accepted short play submissions until March 11. A student could either write his or her original one-act play or submit an existing one that he or she would like to direct. Then the group decided which play would make the cut.
Auditions were held soon after, on March 12 at 7 p.m. in the Theatre-in-the-Round. The festival will be made up of four selected plays and each differs with the amount of actors involved. Each actor can only perform in one play. Playwrights can direct their own one-act but cannot perform in it. In addition, each play should be around 10 to 20 minutes.
Those involved in the one-acts are responsible for the majority of their costumes, props and set pieces.
After deliberating, the Council chose the plays “90 Days” by Elizabeth Meriwether, to be directed by Delaney Winslow, and “Almost Maine” by John Cariaini, to be directed by Andrew Cates. The other two plays are both written and directed by SHU students. “Deaf, Dumb and Married” is by David Gluck and “The Marionette” is by Taliah Gresham.
With the new event underway, preparation has been ongoing for weeks.
A key part of this festival is publicizing it. The group created fliers for the event. In addition, they are utilizing their various social media accounts, especially by making Facebook events for the auditions and performances, to help spread the word. Emails were also sent out.
Robbins said she hopes the students involved will be able to express themselves through theatre.
“This is important to show the diverse talent that Seton Hall University has to offer,” she said. She also emphasized that this festival is inclusive to all majors, as it gives the students who are non-theatre majors an opportunity to showcase what they can do. No prior acting experience is needed.
“Theatre Council is a club for everyone who loves theatre, onstage and backstage,” Robbins said.
Boucher stressed the importance to showcase students’ work as well.
“Theatre is a performance art and the best way to learn is by presenting their work in front of an audience,” she said. “There is only so much one can learn in a classroom, and putting a short play festival is a great way for students to gain hands-on experience.”
Kristel Domingo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.