Laughter is the Best Medicine
Another Successful One Act season
by Nathana Faddis, Panther Press
Nineteen students took the stage this past November for the Emerging Director One-Act Plays. The one-acts benefit everyone involved from the actors and new directors to the audience. Student director Kayla Lawrence described the all-around benefit: “It gives young directors a chance to stretch their wings and find out what they love. It gives young actors a chance to grow by experiencing a new director and by giving them a valuable chance to work with peers in a creative process. It also gives the campus and community a chance to see the dedication and strength of our arts program.”
Both one-acts were comedic, but still very different. The first one was The Flying Doctor written by Moliere and directed by Kayla Lawrence, a senior theatre major. She kept the original language to maintain the purity of the script, while she updated the dress of the characters to make them more relatable. The one-act showed the trickery and humor that Moliere was a master of producing.
Lawrence spoke of her inspiration to direct this particular play saying, “Well, this year I wanted to try my hand at comedy, since I had already done a drama. Moliere is one of my favorite classical authors, and his stuff always leaves me snickering. I read through several of his scripts, but this one just bloomed with ideas and inspiration.”
Sadly, Kayla Lawrence was sick and bedridden during the performances of The Flying Doctor. However, she expressed that she was very proud of her cast for going on without her and for performing well. It was her second time directing a one-act at YC. She felt this time around helped her to avoid past mistakes and really let out her creative spirit.
“When directing, I get a picture in my head, place the basic rules where they need to be, and then wait to see how the actors, crew, and even my own self will flood the script with creative energy.”
The second one-act was Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog written by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, Zack Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen and directed by Matthew Carlson, a senior theatre and music education major. This musical tragicomedy was a hit, both on campus and in its internet popularity. It tells the story of an aspiring super villain, his nemesis, and love interest.
Carlson also had some previous experience stepping into the role of director. This year’s one-act was the third musical he has directed. This past summer he interned in Spencer, IA, and was the musical director for a 50-child cast of Sleeping Beauty Kids, and a 30-child cast of Seussical Jr. production. His plans following graduation are to go on and get his Master of Fine Arts in Youth Theatre.
Carlson spoke of the unique challenge of directing a musical: “Musicals bring an extra challenge to the table when doing a play, because you not only have to know everything about the script of the show, you must also know the music. Hours upon hours of analysis goes into the characters, movements, plot, and musical aspects of the show. I would listen to each number from the show and analyze the lyrics, rhythms, and style.”
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was originally a movie that gained great popularity. Due to this, it created a conundrum for Carlson as far as sticking to the original, but making it his own vision, as well.
“I didn’t want to copy what the movie did, but I also knew that I couldn't neglect the movie. I believe what we brought to the stage captured the essence of what Dr. Horrible is, yet we gave it our own twist.”
The performances were full of talent, laughs, and entertainment. Large crowds showed up both nights to support their peers and enjoy a night of humor. Lawrence described the beauty and art of the theatre as something in which one must “strive to find the gritty, real, dirty, truthful, hopeful, and beautiful humanity in every piece of art you create and, if it makes even one person's life a little better, then you have made great art no matter what anyone else says. That can change the world.”
Dr. Horrible cast: Landon Roseberry, Hailey Siebold, David Young, Caleb Clark, Erin Florea, Daniel Magner, Bethany Saylor, Parker Seilstad, Stephanie Studebaker, Jerome Taylor, Briana Van Deusen and Matt Ward.
The Flying Doctor cast: Kimberly Martin—Sganarelle, Chelsea Holt—Gros-Rene, A.J. Wharton—Lawyer, Patrick Clark—Valere, London Ward—Sabine, Dylan Ford—Gorgibus, and Bethany Miller—Lucile.