By Michael Still
Ames247 Staff Writer
Finals week is finally upon us, and while most students are doing last minute cram sessions and pulling all-nighters to study for their exams, students in the theater department are preparing in a slightly different way.
This week, students taking Brad Dell’s Directing 2 and musical theatre classes will be presenting their final projects for audiences at the One Act Play Festival, and the Musical Theatre Cabaret.
The two classes have been hard at work all semester, and now that work will be displayed for everyone to see. However, these performances won’t be for entertainment purposes only, because they will also serve as the students’ final exams.
In Directing 2, students have been spending most of the semester preparing for this final project. Their assignment was to choose, cast and direct their own one act play.
A one act play is a production that contains a complete plot structure, but is significantly shorter than a full length play.
Although one act plays are shorter than regular plays, they still require just as much work. Diana Wohl, an open option freshman, is one of the actresses cast in a one act play this year. She knows, first hand, the amount of work that goes into putting a production like this together.
“We have normally been rehearsing at least two or three times a week, but since this week is the final stretch, we have been rehearsing every day,” Wohl said. “ I was expecting to put in a lot of work, but the amount of hours that go into making a good and captivating production are a lot different than the hours it takes to simply memorize something.”
The extra hours they put into perfecting their productions and solidifying their visions are what will earn these student directors an “A” when it comes to performance time.
The directors are not the only ones doing hard work this semester. For the actors, there is an added pressure on top of memorizing pages of lines and blocking.
“There’s a sense of accountability,” said Scot Renz, sophomore in performing arts. He was cast in a one act play, and has felt the pressure to work his hardest to not let his director down, because the directors are counting on the actors to make their one act plays come to life.
Meanwhile, in musical theatre, students are preparing their final projects as well. Over the course of the semester, the students have been perfecting songs from musicals in hopes of putting their best work into the final showcase. Danielle Levings, senior in psychology, has been working hard on her music for the class.
“Our final is a Cabaret, where we each perform two individual songs and some group numbers,” Levings said. “We have been learning the music in class, and practicing the harmony parts on our own. We also work on songs we’ve learned throughout the semester, and the goal is to have our best performances at the final.”
Kelsie Hardison, junior in liberal studies, has also been working hard to prepare for the musical theatre final. She says that she enjoys the class, because she feels comfortable with her fellow performers.
“The support from our classmates is great,” Hardison said. “It’s not just Brad, but everyone who contributes, and we are all helping each other and giving feedback from different perspectives.”
Much like Directing 2, the students in musical theatre put in a lot of hours outside of class to perfect their final projects.
“We have to set our own schedule and pace of learning these songs, like finding time to meet outside of class with our accompanist, and run through it a few times before performing it in class,” Hardison said.
With the festival and cabaret approaching, it is time for the students to show off all their hard work. They have not had to memorize any key terms, take notes or make numerous flashcards, but they have been working countless hours to put together a “performance ready” piece that will determine their final grade.
“I think the most exciting part will be when everyone finally gets to see what we’ve been working on,” Wohl said. “I think it will be really fun to see what everyone else has been doing, because there are so many talented people participating in these showcases.”
The Musical Theatre Cabaret will take place Monday night in the M-Shop, and the One Act Play Festival will take place Wednesday and Thursday nights in the M-Shop at 6:00 p.m.