Every year during the fall semester, the theater honorary fraternity Alpha Psi Omega hosts a play festival known as the One-Act Play Festival. The festival is student produced both in terms of direction and technical production.
Every aspect of the show is created by the students. “It is a fully student produced show, meaning APO funds it, all the directors are members of APO, the designers are students and all production needs are coordinated by APO” said APO President Sam Moretti (’20).
Alpha Psi Omega was founded in 1925 at Fairmount State College and has grown to a total of 551 active chapters in the United States including the Delta Beta chapter here at Alma College.
This year the festival is running three shows, “We have three shows,” said Moretti. “The 5564 to Toronto by Karen Howes, directed by Rachel Blome (’21). The Second Floor by Robert Scott, directed by Terry Dana Jachimiak II. The final show is The Three Little Pigs: Reborn written and directed by Merek Alam (’20).”
Actors have only a few weeks to rehearse, memorize and prepare for their individual show. “My favorite part of the rehearsal process is when the lines are finally memorized and the performer can begin to truly experience the emotions that come from the words internally,” said Dan Chalice (’21).
While a typical theater production would have a set rehearsal schedule for all case members, the play festival allows each director to set up their own rehearsal schedule with their cast members.
“Directing has been a super fun experience,” said Blome. “I enjoy being able to control all the design elements of a show like lights, sound and costume. I have also really enjoyed being able to work with the talented actors of my choice. Overall it is a nice break from the traditional role I have filled and a fun, creative experience.”
Student directors are also a different aspect of the play festival. Student directors take on a new role during this time of the year and are given the opportunity to try their hand at leading the production. “I think that it’s a healthy experience for theater students to experiment with a directing role at some point,” said Chalice.
These student directors also bring a new perspective to the show. “Having student directors bring a unique perspective to each piece,” said Morgan Sweitzer (’22). “It is very clear when you see each show that the directors have varying visions creating distinct difference and an evening of electric theater.”
Additionally because each aspect of the show is student produced, students learn how to collaborate with each other for the betterment of the production. “My favorite part of the festival is the student collaboration,” said Sweitzer. “It is really a chance to get to know your fellow students on a more personal level.
In the winter semester, the theater program will also be doing The Devised Piece written by one of Joanne Gilbert’s classes, who will also be directing the production. “The play is about gun violence and the United States relationship with guns,” said Cassidy Sanford (’20). “The play is composed of interviews both on campus and in the surrounding community with the additional statistical facts.”
The Devised Piece will run February 13th – 16th. They will also be doing She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen which will run April 2nd – 5th. Auditions for both shows will be announced next semester.