Photo Essay: One Acts: A Student Run Production

Photo Essay: One Acts: A Student Run Production

One Acts is a theatre program that is completely student run. It runs between the two main shows of the school year, in the winter. Each play is written, directed, and performed by RMHS students, allowing them to express themselves in a completely authentic manner. On Friday, January 26, 2024, One Acts was held at RMHS at 7pm, showcasing four different plays: “(star)SHIPWRECKED” directed by seniors Daniel Murphy and Shriya Kalluri, “SAY WHAT?” directed by juniors Jaymie Donohue and Helena Barros Checcucci, “OOPS!” directed by seniors Zaida Bowsher and Emma McCarthy, and “SPLAT” directed by seniors Matt Lo and Jack Bozarth. The Black Maskers club has fostered a tight knit community, although there is over 200 members. Every Black Masker has a role and has found a way to execute it in their own fashion, creating a unique and entertaining show for all RMHS community members to sit back and enjoy.

Junior Natalie Marmelstein fixes junior Johnell McConnell’s hair before she goes on stage to play her role as Lady Fingers in the play “SPLAT”. “My character came from royalty in Australia, and came to watch her husband play in his favorite show. But after her husband disappears, she is pulled from the audience to take his place. She later finds out her husband was killed by another contestant, the monkey,” McConnell said. 

The booth is where students are able to control the lighting and sound, and has a very lax environment. “Working in the booth is fun and it’s honestly a glorified hang out spot, so we chill out here and eat snacks and watch the performance,” sophomore Cal Murphy said.

With less than 15 minutes to go until rehearsal, junior Ginger Speer touches up junior Liliana Katz-Hollander’s makeup as quick as they can. Theatre is incredibly versatile, and allows the members to experience new things through the roles they choose. “I’m in makeup because I love doing colorful looks on myself and I wanted to experience tech week, which isn’t part of publicity, my main crew. It’s been so much fun and I’ve learned a lot from everyone. I definitely recommend joining if you’re creative and like spending time with people!” Speer said.

Members of The Black Maskers’ running crew rehearse a dance while the actors are getting their makeup done. The running crew is the backbone of the entire show, moving sets around, opening and closing the curtains, reminding the actors to get in places, etc. Although they mostly work behind the scenes, they get stage time too! “During intermission, the running crew does a dance on stage,” junior Erin Caplan said.

Senior Divya Chaudry does senior Victoria Dziasek’s makeup for her role in “SPLAT”. There is not one correct way to do each person’s makeup. Since each makeup artist isn’t assigned actors, they have to figure it out along the way by asking the actors for advice on what their character should look like. “All of the makeup we use is either donated or purchased from cheaper locations so that we don’t have to use a huge part of our budget for it. Most actors bring their own concealer so that we don’t have to buy everyone’s exact shade, and it all works out,” Chaudry said.

Props department members are the often-overlooked heroes behind the scenes, bringing scripts to life by creating a range of items, from the colorful helmets used in “(star)SHIPWRECKED” to the simple bags of money used in “SPLAT”, each object adding depth to the narrative without saying a word. “We grab anything we can find from set con and it’s basically DIY. We ask the actors what we should make the props look like as well. My favorite parts about being on props are the people, and that I get to stay at the rehearsal throughout the whole thing,” junior Emilia Murphy said.

Freshman Brianna Martinez-Olivares has her mic put in by junior Erica Saulsbury. Saulsbury works on sound, setting up and sorting the mic packages and then helping the actors put them on. The sound department also utilizes various ways to cover the mics up with makeup and tape. 

Juniors Liliana Katz-Hollander, Helena Barros Checcucci, and sophomore Natalie Morrison pose for a picture minutes before they line up to start rehearsal. There are three shows that The Black Maskers put on each year: the fall musical, One Acts, and the spring play. “I think One Acts is a really great opportunity for people to try out acting and it’s a much more relaxed environment than the other shows, and we get the opportunity to experiment a lot and just have fun in general,” Katz-Hollander said.

Junior Paavani Lal Das helps junior Fadekemi Laniyonu attach her mic set. Laniyonu plays the character of ‘Clancy’ in the play “SAY WHAT?”, and she loves it. “Clancy is such a chaotic, anxiety ridden character, that it’s honestly so entertaining to be able to put her on every night, and I have such a blast doing it,” Laniyonu said. Many members of the show claim that it gives them a sense of belonging, and Lal Das agrees. “I really feel like since I started One Acts, I feel connected to my community and honestly you just find a connection with tons of people that you couldn’t in another setting,” Lal Das said. 

On a desolate planet in 2124, a fractured crew of five friends clings to a crumbling mission. With 24 hours and a broken ship, can they survive their own baggage to make it back, or will their grudges become their grave? This is the question that the play “(star)SHIPWRECKED” answers. Junior Eliza Petrova (pictured in green) says “My favorite part about the role I play is the bright red lipstick that I get to wear. The reason I do theatre is that it’s a really welcoming community, it’s a lot of fun, and honestly just very enriching!”

Junior Erin Caplan, one of the assistant producers for One Acts, lines up the actors of “SPLAT” on stage to rehearse their bows.

Although former technical Director of the Black Maskers Eric Rodney retired earlier this year, he came back to visit the crew one last time before the day of the show. Mr. Rodney has been a huge part of the theatre department for over 25 years, and has been greatly missed by many of the members, such as Natalie Morrison (far left). “Mr. Rodney has always been just such a welcoming, kind and funny presence in drama and in all aspects will be missed so much. I wish him all the best though in this new chapter and I hope he comes back to visit!” Morrison said.

Seniors Rushi Jain and Susanna Hubacker, the producers of One Acts, pose for a picture before they have the crew open up the stage curtains to begin rehearsal. “One Acts at its heart is a celebration of student work and creativity. Everything from the scripts to the design is all done by students. One Acts gives students the freedom and comfort to push what they typically do within drama and the main stage productions,” Jain said. One Acts has been described by many as an avenue to express students’ creativity and art. “That’s why I love One Acts, it’s so freeing to be silly and funny and just less serious on stage. I am so incredibly proud of this year’s One Acts and I’m just so excited to see what they do with this festival in the future,” Jain continued.

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