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The Virtual Hub for the Media of the The Benjamin School's Upper School

The Pharcyte

The Virtual Hub for the Media of the The Benjamin School's Upper School

The Pharcyte

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One-Act Festival Shifts Format to Staged Reading

One-Act+Festival+Shifts+Format+to+Staged+Reading

January is the theater department’s time to shine through its most expansive project: The One Act Play Festival. The Festival, more commonly referred to as “The One Acts,” is the most flexible and unique production at the Upper School. The curtain rises on this year’s show– a staged reading– at 1:00 PM in Benjamin Hall on January 27th.

Mostly student-run, these One Acts are a great opportunity for students who are interested in theater but often don’t have the time to commit to one of the big productions.

Drama Club president Xan Blount explains that this year the One Acts are being presented as a read-
through. There will still be actors reading the lines, and a narrator reading stage directions, but there will be no directed motion. “This change allows for us to still give a voice to the incredible work the playwrights did while also aligning with the amount of actors we had available,” shared Blount.

]The One Acts are more available to students than typical performances because of the minimal amount of rehearsal and the individual freedoms students enjoy through the process of creating their own pieces. The One Acts are student written, directed, and acted. “Students will develop important skills along the way in terms of time management, leadership, and
responsibility,” explained Mr.Peck.

The One Acts are also a chance for students who have never acted to take the stage. For example, it is freshman Natalie Bain’s first time participating in an Upper School production. She is directing the play House of Cards, which was written by senior Tyler Kelly.

Bain ended up deciding to act in her play in addition to directing be-
cause “ I was amazed because the cast that has been put together are all such wonderful people and I’m excited to not just direct it, but to be immersed in Tyler’s creation alongside them. I’m playing a small part: Lily.” This is similar to sophomore Betsy Farmer, who is making her acting debut in House of Cards.

Like Bain, Blount is pulling double-duty this year. In the past, Xan has only had one role as an actor, but since the One Acts are being conducted as a read-through this year the opportunity for her was slightly different being an actor and a director within this new format. Blount explained how “I am excited to try directing because it will put me in a different pair of shoes on the stage than I am used to, as I am normally an actor.”

Love for the One Acts runs deep within the Benjamin Theatre department. “I have been involved in the One Acts since my freshman year. I have always loved acting in the student-written plays as it is fun to bring your friends’ productions to life. The plays themselves often have interesting plots and more modern dialogue, than say some of the formal plays we produce, which gives every actor the chance to dabble in something different and new,” explained Blount.

Teachers also play a valuable role in The One Acts, such as substitute instructor Ms. Marina Gasparini, who has been involved with the One Act Festival for six years. She appreciates how flexible the project is and the shorter length of rehearsals, so more
students can get involved. Theater educator Mr. Peck also appreciates the dedication of students and flexible rehearsal schedule. He loves seeing each student – new or old – thrive in the creative freedoms provided to them through the One Acts.

This year, seven plays will be read, four of which were listed as semi-finalists for the Palm Beach DramaWorks Young Playwright Festival, including Ava Schulties’ Dissimulare, which actually won the competition. Good luck to all the playwrights competing this year.

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About the Contributor
Finley Strauss, Staff Writer
Finley Strauss is a staff writer and editor of the Pharcyde. It is her first year at the Benjamin School. Finley is excited to start working on The Pharcyde, especially on opinion pieces. She is in the honor council, JSA, debate, and mock trial. In her free time she enjoys running, spending time with friends, and going to the beach. She plans to become an attorney.

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