New talent and directors offer different perspective for theater event

by karihighman, ’13 and

anna-mariaTHALASSINOS, ‘14

The lights dim, the curtain rises: excitement and anticipation fill the atmosphere. The directors of each play watch as their actors assemble on the stage. Different than other theater shows however, this play is completely student-produced.

When the topic of Little Theater Little Shows arises, many people think of the interesting plays performed by experienced drama department students at the high school. This year, UAHS has some new talent on hand to give the event a fresh perspective, thanks to a variety of storylines and well-rehearsed actors.

According to the director of UA’s Community Theater Greg Varner, the first installation of LTLS was presented in the spring of 2007 by the OSU Theater department. “The Little Theater Little Shows were inspired by a ten-minute theater festival presented by the Ohio State Theater department in 2006,” Varner said. “As our theatre program was evolving, it seemed important to provide an opportunity to showcase original student work. [LTLS is] definitely the biggest show of the year since people are anxious to see the new shows [that students have created].”

Sophomore Michael Roberts, a first year cast member of Little Theater Little Shows, said he appreciates this unique aspect of the production.

“I think the best part is how it’s completely student-run,” he said. “Each show is written by students, directed by students and performed by students. It’s a really unique, but fun process.”

After being inspired by shows he had seen in previous years, junior Michael Zelnik wanted a chance to write, direct and act in a play himself.

“I saw the Little Theater shows last year and I was amazed by the amount of talent students had, whether they were the actors or the playwrights,” Zelnik said. “I was inspired.LTLS was a good, creative outlet for me to do something with my ideas. I thought that [directing] would be a great step for me.”

Acting in a school production may be a creative learning experience, according to Zelnik, but preparation is vital.

Varner said that in order to become a part of this student-run cast, actors must undergo an audition process.

“The script writers and directors serve as the auditors for the auditions. Students interested in performing for the show are required to prepare an audition monologue about 90 seconds in length,” he said. “Once the auditions are done, the writers and I deliberate to assign roles.”

According to junior Lexy Weixel, who has been cast in LTLS for the past three years, the student actors help the plays really come to life.

“You’re in a theater with people you know and respect, and it’s great to just see these great monologues, because every audition ends up being fantastic,” she said. “You also get a whole new perspective of actually casting a show if you’re a writer or director. It’s like you’re watching a meeting between trained Broadway directors casting their show, yet it’s just some high school kids.”

According to Zelnik, his play centers around a dim-witted detective who finds out something that could affect the whole city when he investigates why one of his clients lost power.

“I was inspired by [senior] Jacob Conrad’s play, The Electric Weasel, from last year. His play was incredibly funny, and I thought it’d be fun to write something this great,” he said.

Although the production requires sufficient time and effort with rehearsals, the end result is worth it. Acting in junior Daniel Kington’s play, Roberts talked about his excitement for the show.

“I am in Daniel Kington’s show Unpublished and I play Bobby…[who] is somewhat of a tortured soul,” he said. “He is pretty closed off and introverted. Writing isn’t his strong suit, even though he is in a writing group. It’s a really great show and I’m just really happy that I got the chance to be involved in it.”

Zelnik said that he wants people to remember the amount of effort each student puts into the endeavor, whether they be directors, actors or tech crew members.

“I hope people appreciate the amount of talent the students have,” he said. “My goal is to make it entertaining for the audience and I hope they have a great time.”

PLAYBILL

LITTLE THEATER, LITTLE SHOWS

Featured Shows: The Golden Inbetweener, A Clueless Detective, Out of the Bag, Unpublished, Words, Emma, Talking in Circles, [Title], and The Red Rose

Show Times: May 9, 10, and 11 at 7:30 p.m.

Sophomore Alexandra Dubson reherses her part in one of the Little Theater Little Shows.  The event consists of nine shows that are all student produced.  Image by Maria Berger