By Megan Bowers, Staff Writer
Sophomore Jessica Cooper sits at a desk, composition notebook in hand, watching her cast run through the scene. She never looks down, but scrawls notes quickly across the page whenever she notices something.
This was the scene of her final dress rehearsal for her one act play, “Whack-a-Mole,” which was a part of the event, “A Night of One Acts,” hosted by Stage Left last Friday.
Stage Left, a student-run musical theatre organization, holds the event every semester to give people who were not cast in their fall musical, or who didn’t have enough time to commit to it, the chance to still get involved.
The longtime tradition also gives the executive board the chance to see the different directors’ styles and consider them for future shows. This worked in the case of Brandon Fogel, who directed a One Act last year and will be directing their fall musical, “Heathers,” this semester.
“We knew he would be able to pull it off since we had seen his work before,” said Stage Left president Landon Drumm.
This semester, four students decided to take the opportunity to show off their abilities. They held auditions together, listening to the prospective actors read a scene from each of their plays.
“After everybody left, all the directors basically had to fight it out over who we wanted,” said Cooper. “There was arguing and trading, so it was fun but also weird.”
Before getting to auditions, the directors had the daunting task of choosing what show to do for their one act play.
Sophomore Alison Perelman chose her One Act, “Jazz Brunch,” from a chapter of the book “The Unchangeable Spots of Leopard.”
The story is about three friends who go for their weekly brunch and end up clashing over a story the narrator is writing. Perelman converted the chapter into a script herself.
Junior Andrew Higgins took this creativity one step further by actually writing his own One Act. The play included a song from a musical he is currently working on.
“This is a project I want to see realized at some point, and it’s a stretch to realize the whole thing suddenly without any credibility to it,” said Higgins. “In the case that this goes well, slash, gets good feedback, I feel this would give occasion for having success in the future.”
His musical is about a man who has dissociative identity disorder, which means he has a split personality sometimes. Higgins envisioned the split personalities to each be played by different members of the cast.
The difficult thing about performing a One Act that has never been done before is that there is no previously recorded music.
“These are the original singers of this piece so there is nothing to base it off of,” said Higgins. “They’ve done really well with what they’ve interpreted. It’s nice to observe that they’re reading through these lyrics and expressing themselves.”
The original nature of the piece also meant the feedback to the performance was vital.
“I want the audience as much as possible to feel and observe what I’ve written,” said Higgins.
Each of the directors also had different levels of involvement in Stage Left before deciding to direct.
Senior Geoff Hubbard hadn’t done very much with Stage Left in the past, but he managed to put together a One Act nonetheless.
His show, “The Goon,” is a take on the superhero genre that ends with a twist. The sidekicks in the show accidently kill the superhero before the villain gets there, leaving them unsure what to do.
On the other hand, Jessica Cooper has been actively involved in Stage Left. In her first year at Miami, she was in all three major performances as well as a One Act.
This experience was beneficial as it helped her learn the best directing approach for her One Act, “Whack-a-Mole.”
“Whack-a-Mole” is about a couple who plays the game whack-a-mole and ends up confronting people from their past.
“It is very weird and kind of abstract,” said Cooper. “You have to kind of see it to understand it.”
She structured her rehearsals carefully, even incorporating a PowerPoint to keep them on schedule. She started their final rehearsal with a projection exercise to get them ready for the change of venue for the performance.
Her goal for the performance was for it to be enjoyable and for her actors to give it their all.
“I have complete confidence in them,” said Cooper. “They are all wonderful performers.”
Stage Left is planning to hold One Acts again during the spring semester and will be showing their fall musical, “Heathers,” at 7 p.m. on Nov 17-19.