From the Director’s Chair: One Act Plays


Kiki Sobkowiak

The 2022 cast and crew for BTA’s annual One Act Plays pose for a group picture.

At the end of the 2021-2022 school year, students had the opportunity to direct a 10 minute play this fall. Brave undertakers greatly underestimated the amount of work this would require as they signed up to be Student Directors. The first step in this process was to pick a play from “,” which contains over 300 screenplays. Over the summer, directors poured over dozens of scripts to find a minimal set and a highly entertaining piece. Some plays chosen were “Don’t Play Games With Me,” “Tough as Nails,” “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself,” and “The Bagel Club.” Auditions began on August 24 where roughly 30 students auditioned to be in one of the five plays. Unfortunately, the harsh reality of showbiz kicked in when not every student received a role. The final cast included seven freshmen, seven sophomores, and three juniors.

Practices began the following week on August 29, as there were only three weeks of rehearsals before showtime on September 23 and 24. Sophomore Eli Ho said, “the deadline for the show was the hardest part of directing. Even though I’ve dealt with the day of the show as an actor before, something about actually directing the show made it a lot more stressful for me than if I were acting.” In addition, practices got canceled over disputes about practice rooms and times. Sophomore Jack Kaufman said, “It was hard to find a place where it was secluded and quiet to practice. It was so hard, in fact, that we ended up using the butterfly garden most days.” As blocking and staging began, props and sets were added to the mix. Most of the sets included pieces such as tables, couches, chairs, and a very chatty shelf. Due to the minimal set pieces, actors learned how to bring a scene to life with just their words and actions.

Another part of the showcase was the individual acts. Soloists such as Gianna Angelone, Dee Pace, and Sarah Gilbert courageously performed themselves on stage. Duets like Kyle Spiegel and Korina Mongirdas or Jackson Wand and Bella McKendall experimented with harmonies and established relationships in songs. Larger group numbers, such as a group of sophomores who sang decked out in neon or choreographed juniors who sang Abba in bell bottoms, truly brought color and energy to the stage with their makeup and costumes. 

The night of September 23 was the big opening night. Students poured their hearts and souls into the showcase, and the audience could tell. Freshman Erin Tribe said, “It was such a fun and memorable experience! Not only did I get to do what I love, I got to do it with an amazing group of new friends surrounding me! Theater at Benet is a special community filled with so many amazing people, and I’m so happy that I’m now a part of it.” 

Fans like sophomore Madeleine Kirchgessner said her favorite part was “watching all of my friends from Daniel’s come together and make a show that showed all of the creativity that Daniel’s Hall is about!” Another viewer, Jacob Olejink, said, “there was an amazing element of humor to the One Acts, which was better than I expected.” However, critics had input mentioning that the show was a little on the long side, as it ran two and a half hours. 

When directors reflected on the show, they mentioned their struggles. These include balancing their chaotic extracurricular schedules or compromising on artistic vision. This introduced a new challenge: how to be listened to by people the same age. Power struggles seemed unavoidable in shows where cast members were older than directors. In some cases, actors undermined directors, and directors struggled to find their voice. 

As for my experience, gaining credibility from my cast was the hardest part. However, after two full days of shows, I could not be more proud of all the actors, singers, dancers, directors, and crew who made this kickoff event a great success.