The One-Acts, Lick-Wilmerding’s annual show of student-written and directed plays and interludes, is one of the main theatrical events of Lick’s school year. Each year’s lineup of plays offers a collection of some of the best quirky, droll, and even poignant student work our school has to offer, the 2016 One-Acts Festival was no exception.
Extracurricular Activities, by Angela Iton ‘16 and Jerry Sparagon ‘16 and directed by Tobiah Richkind ‘16, saw two teenagers (Liam Mcdonnell ‘18 and Melody Sifry ‘18) break into a mansion in desperate hopes of excitement and an extracurricular to put on their college applications. Despite the criminal offenses, Extracurricular Activities showed getting into college may not be as orthodox as one might think. Others who starred in Extracurricular Activities include Sadie Ray Smith ‘19 and Nazzie Talebi ‘16.
A Night to Remember, by Marka Ellertson ‘18 and Max Ozer-Staton ‘16 and directed by Samantha Mendoza ‘16, was a large story built from smaller subplots, including a detective’s failed games (Daniel Holzman ‘17), a drunken frat boy’s search for a woman (Nate Gorjance ‘16), and the leader of a doomsday cult (Simone Mittelstaedt ‘18). Jimmy (Cole Crawford ‘16), who found his life to be too predictable, arrived at a party filled with attendants who had different ideas about what they were celebrating. Others who starred in A Night to Remember include Aidan Alberts ‘18, Carolena Leon ‘16, Isabel Povey ‘16, Eric Garcia ‘17, Silvana Montagu ‘18, and Brooke Peterson ‘17.
Opus 71, written by Kate Chaloemtiarana ‘16 and directed by Samuel Berston ‘16, is a semi-true historical period piece that takes place in 1890s Russia and is based on the life of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, a composer best known for his works for his many concerts, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. “The play takes place about a month before the premiere of The Nutcracker,” playwright Chaloemtiarana says. Chaloemtiarana says their inspiration for the play came largely from an independent study they did on gay musicians and their influence on music; Tchaikovsky was one of them. “Not many people know about his being gay, but it’s very dramatic and it’s a good story to tell. I want to make the audience feel moved and see his works in a new way.” Adam Barr-Neuwirth ’17, Jack Fong Gougoutas ’16, Leila Kashani-Sabet ’17, Staton ‘16 all starred in Opus 71.
Soup of the Day, written by Holzman and directed by Atessa Moghimi ‘16, focused on two men in prison who make the last meal for prisoners on death row about to be executed. The play took place on the day one of the inmate cooks is released, offering a unique perspective on the end of relationships. “When I read it, I really related to the characters,” comments director Moghimi. “I love the way it toyed with their relationship and grappled with the idea of endings and what it was like to say goodbye and how a relationship can come to an end.” Holzman’s main inspiration came from many of his friends graduating last year, therefore placing him in a “Goodbye” situation. “It’s been good to work on it, Atessa’s doing a great job and I’ve been sitting in on most of the rehearsals and answering questions regarding the script,” he says. “I’d like the audience to not necessarily side with one of the characters and instead let it sit with them to see if there’s a right and a wrong, if there is one.” Similarly, Moghimi hopes that Soup of the Day will leave the audience questioning their own relationships and their own break-ups. Nigel Berkeley ‘17, Blythe Engel ‘17, Emilia Fernandez ‘18, Camryn Hollarsmith ‘16, and Loic Marcon ‘17 all starred in Soup of the Day.
A Nightmare On a Train by Lois Shaw ‘18 and Rachael Cornejo ‘16 took the lives of distressed Sam (Maia Moredock-Ting ‘18) and her roommate Madeline (Eloise Schrier ‘18) and completely threw them off track after Sam’s lost best friend, Julie (played by Maia Schwarts ‘17), contacted Sam through a bird (Brian Ebisuzaki ‘16). The situation really derailed when Sam’s recurring nightmare, only described as something chasing her, became supposed reality and cast the passengers in peril. If there’s one thing to take away from this play, never trust someone who’s hungry…
Arrrggghhh, written by Meredith Fry ‘17 and directed by Niza Contreras ‘16 saw several pirates compete to tell the best seafaring tale. “It’s been great to see what Arrrggghhh has changed into since I wrote it,” comments Fry. “It’s gotten better and better everytime I see it.” Contreras chose it because she was drawn to the humor of the play and that it piqued her interest in fantasy fiction and crazy adventures. “I want to leave the audience crying with laughter. I hope they enjoy it.” Eddie Baker ‘16, Alex Brahm ‘16, Liam Coen ‘18, Penny Devlin ‘18, Maya John ‘18, Yasmeena Khan ‘18, Julia Moser ‘19, Nora Stacey ‘17, Erica Thompson ‘18, and Oliver York ‘17 all starred in Arrrggghhh.
Of course, it is imperative to discuss the interludes, short skits that are fantastic and often clever diversions from the larger plays. Downward Dog by Stacey and directed by Samuel Berston ‘16 placed the focus on cool and collected yoga instructor Opal (Ellie Smith ‘18) as she attempts to four of her students, including easily-vexed and stressed Jim (Charlie Story ‘16) and Martha (Nicole Borders ‘17), an absent-minded mother of three. Chris (Michael Flynn ‘16), a businessman who takes yoga very seriously, and Yogi (Mari Kure ‘19), an especially flexible student, were arguably calmer than their peers.
Yelp Review by Oliver York ‘17 and directed by Niza Contreras ‘16 dealt with one of the most taxing questions a family could encounter: what’s the ideal vacation spot? A mother (Ella Gillmor ‘18) and her daughter (Sidney Hirschman ‘18) attempted to answer this by turning to the overly-pessimistic reviewers (played by Meredith Fry ‘17 and Khloe Thomas ‘18) on Yelp.com. The moral of this interlude? Don’t trust those who visit places simply for high-quality selfies or in search of royalty that died centuries ago.
The Pencil Skit, written by Nigel Berkeley ‘17 and directed by Rachael Cornejo ‘16, took the simple task of lending a pencil and blew it to dramatic proportions when Nameer Hirschkind ‘19 refused Ally Beavan-Szabo ‘19 the liberty of a writing device in fear of losing it. Hopefully the situation will be different when Beavan-Szabo needs an eraser.
Kangaroos, written by Cole Crawford ‘16 and directed by Samantha Mendoza ‘16 was an interlude in the style of a nature-based children’s show. It is an “exploration of love and how romantic relationships are created in the 21st century using an allegory of kangaroos in the Australian outback,” as described by Crawford. Who knew that kangaroos (played by James Crutcher ‘18 and Brooke Peterson ‘17) found their love in dating apps? Others who starred in Kangaroos included Kelby Kramer ‘17 and Alex Southwick ‘18.
After hours of laughs and perhaps even a few tears, the 28th Annual Festival of One-Acts was over, continuing the tradition of jocular and intriguing talent produced by Lick-Wilmerding’s student-body.