S. MICHAEL HUTCHESON
While most students are looking forward to Thanksgiving break and the rest it will hopefully bring, two senior theatre majors are working non-stop to prepare for their one-act performances that will debut when students return.
Senior theatre majors Greg Demary and Alicia Libetti have been hard at work since the start of the semester, and in some areas even earlier, preparing to present their one act-stage productions. For them, these one-acts are the culmination of their time at Franciscan, a sort of final test of everything that they have learned in the course of their college study.
The seniors were each in charge of casting actors for the play, overseeing the costume design and blocking the stage movements for their respective plays.
The one-act process began when the theatre majors first selected a play to direct. They have total creative freedom in what they pick and how they approach the piece, and they pour their hearts into analyzing every line in the script, envisioning the movement on the stage and identifying every intended emotion.
“The director’s basically the person with the artistic vision,” said Demary, one of the student directors. Libetti, the other director, spoke about the need to work with the actors and figure out the best way to convey the intended emotion to the audience. “As a director, I am in charge of moving the dramatic action forward,” she said.
Demary will be directing a play called “No Exit.” Written by French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre, the play centers around three characters who are sent to hell, but instead of the torment that they expect to receive, they are locked together in a room and left in suspense. “If you were just to watch the play, not a whole lot happens,” said Demary. “Because they’re stuck in one room, there’s a challenge as a director to keep it interesting for an audience.”
Demary explained that the majority of the play focuses not so much on big movement or substantial action but rather on the interpersonal relationships. The three characters have to learn more about each other and how to interact with each other as they all try to figure out what’s going to happen to them. “Because it focuses on the relationships between people,” said Demary, “it stretches you as a director to make those relationships interesting.”
Demary hopes to leave his audience thinking about what it means to be in a relationship with another person and what that relationship is centered around. He placed emphasis on the fact that a relationship which does not have a solid foundation is doomed to fall apart quickly. “I think with an audience here at Franciscan, you’ll necessarily think about what it means to have God as the foundation of those relationships,” he said.
Libetti chose to direct a play called “The Rainmaker” by N. Richard Nash. “The Rainmaker” is set in the age of the Great Depression, and it follows the protagonist, Lizzie Curry, who tends to her father’s ranch.
As the ranch suffers through a massive drought, a conman named Starbuck offers to make it rain for payment. Libetti explained, “The main protagonist Lizzie battles an interior drought of feeling unwanted. She fears her dreams of marrying and having children will never come true.”
Libetti elaborated on the emotions she hopes to elicit in her audience, saying, “Everyone struggles with these vulnerabilities in this play.” She intends for people to be able to relate to the characters in the play and see how they resolve their problems. “I want my audience to leave the theatre with a sense of hope,” said Libetti.
The one-acts are not only a display of talent from the student directors and actors, nor are they merely wonderful entertainment for those on campus. The subject matter of the one-acts raises interesting, thought-provoking questions that are sure to ignite academic discussion across campus.
These one-acts will run on Friday, Nov. 30, and Saturday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2, at 2 p.m. in Anathan Theatre.