One Team, One-Act
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The actors presented their version of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” to compete in this year’s University Interscholastic League (UIL) District One-Act Competition after performing it publicly for other students. Students rehearsed the weekend before spring break ended to get ready for their public performance, which was two days before their UIL competition.
Unlike the previous performances put on by the students of productions, one act productions require fewer actors and technicians. Rehearsal time is limited and more focus is placed on making the actors’ representation of their character stand out due to the small cast size.
“Getting ready for one act is definitely more challenging,” senior Colton Rhodes said. “We are constantly making changes and cuts to the show in order to conform with the competition rules, so preparation is a lot more rushed. On top of all of it, we’re doing Shakespeare, and you can’t paraphrase Shakespeare. You have to have the words down exactly as they were written.”
The audition process for one act is different when compared to the original process used for the fall play or musical. Less time is given to memorize audition pieces just like rehearsals after the cast is chosen.
“One act is so exclusive our directors already have a basic idea of who they think is best fit in the show,” senior Molly West said. “The audition process consisted of cold reads to find placement rather than a showcase of one’s best talent like in a musical or fall show. Our initial audition was set up formatically like a callback.”
Shakespeare’s play revolves around a romantic story that highlights humor and at the same time displays suspense. The cast consists of both juniors and seniors who work together to fulfill the story’s plot.
“My character is Beatrice, one of Shakespeare’s wittiest characters,” senior Gillian Britt said. “She is in a ‘merry war’ with Benedick, while devoting time to being protective of her cousin Hero. My favorite part of Beatrice is the way she uses her wit to mask her vulnerabilities and affections.”
The chance to strengthen each character and bond with each cast member is more present during the preparation for one act. For actors wrangling in focus is easier when working in a small group. Actors are also able to work on skills with the show’s direction in a more one-on-one setting.
“I’ve found it much easier to have a smaller cast and crew because there are fewer people to worry about and give direction to,” Britt said. “However, since there are fewer characters, the relationships between the characters have to be very solid and each character has to stand out.”
After one act is over and done with, seniors only have a few chances to take the stage with their fellow classmen. Besides projects done in sixth and seventh period protection classes, students in productions participate in the end of the year Coffee House performance.
“Seniors showcase their talent for the last time on the West stage,” West said. “Qualifying seniors are able to pick any act of their choice whether it be song, dance, sketch, scene, monologue, to perform in a cafe-style, dinner-and-a-show type performance.”
The seniors have put on several productions over the span of two years together, one-act being their last. “Off stage connections play a key factor,” West said. “And being with my best friends makes that very easy.”