Some may remember the “Scenes from ‘Rabbit Hole’” presentations that the Directing 1 class produced this October. The students in the Directing 1 class recruited several auditioning actors and then tried their hand at directing. Now the class has progressed to producing a showcase of 10 Minute scenes called “Doritos, Love, and the Lack Thereof” that will conclude their semester on Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 6-7.
Each student director has taken on a technical responsibility as well, working with lights, sound, stage managing, or like Bri Tomczak (‘24), publicity, and promoting the students’ work.
Tomczak is doing a scene from ‘Bright Half Life,’ a play by Tanya Barfield, which is, as Tomczak describes, “a really cool story, which tells of these two women kind of throughout their relationship and time and life”. The play takes the audience and readers from when the two women first meet in the office in 1985 through 2031 when one woman is, unfortunately, dying from cancer and calls the other for help, having split up and been apart for a while before her diagnosis.
The directing students picked their own plays to present scenes from. While Tomczak began the process of going through the library’s collection of plays, she said, “I knew I wanted two women because that’s often how a lot of those scenes end up being, and this one just kind of stuck with me. Right off the bat, I was like, ‘This is really cool’ […] I love stories. I love the storytelling aspect of theatre, so I thought that was really cool that I could tell a story that was so beautiful and prevalent to society and life right now.”
For Tomczak, “[‘Bright Half Life’] is just a really pretty story of these two women. One of them is an Asian woman, so it’s about her experience with being Asian and also being in a same-sex relationship and what that was like in the 1980s all the way up to 2031. How we’ve grown with LBTQ rights but at the same time how that’s a struggle, with this character being kind of a double minority almost. It’s a really pretty story. It’s non-linear, which is something that is really enjoyable. So the scenes jump back and forth between time […] it’ll jump to a fight then jump to the characters in love. I’m really excited, it’s really a beautiful play and just a beautiful relationship that these two characters get to have and we get to watch as an audience.”
In comparison to the “Rabbit Hole” scene Tomczak directed earlier in the semester, she said it’s “been fun to get to work with so many different types of actors. When I did ‘Rabbit Hole’ I had two freshman girls, so that in itself was a really awesome experience to get to work with and watch them kind of grow into the theatre. I think what’s been so cool about this process is just the collaboration of it and how these actors have been introduced to theatre now and are more open with it. Like, ‘I want to try this,’ or ‘Can I go for this,’ which has been super cool for me as a director to be like, ‘Absolutely try something new,’ and, ‘Absolutely go for it.’ So just that collaboration aspect and just how excited they are to do the scene are new things. Already I’m a collaborative person, that’s how I like to work, so that’s been a really cool way to do directing […] I mean it’s been so fun to do all of these different scenes and watching your actors grow is like the best part of directing.”
As an actor herself, Tomczak has been able to expand her acting as well as discover what kind of director she wants to be. “I’m definitely not the kind of control-of-the-room person and I felt like that’s what you have to be a director, which I definitely got wrong. There [are] so many types of directors, and I think that’s what makes directing so enjoyable is that you can bring all aspects of yourself to it. And so, because I am more of a collaborative person, that’s definitely been something really fun to do as a director, to still be suggesting ideas and then also getting that back from the actors. It’s really really cool and it’s definitely something that I like to do as an actor as well, but it’s in a different way because now I’m on the flip side of it. I get to collaborate with these two actors and then watch them get to make it their own and that’s really a pretty cool thing to watch.”
Tomczak has discovered that actors should go into auditions and “do something directors are not expecting. Be bold and brave in every aspect. That’s definitely something I’ve learned as a director and actor. As a director, I will now look for those kinds of differences.”
For Tomczak’s scene, they’ve had to work on the transitions between time jumps and how the actors can make those emotional switches fast. They have to keep the audience on their toes but also make sure that it’s not hard to follow those time and content switches as the play progresses. Tomczak says “It’s definitely been the biggest challenge but at the same time really cool… because the actors have been really willing to go super far with it, with what is driving them in the scene, and I love that. So it’s definitely been a challenge but it’s overall gotten better and I’m proud of the work that they’ve done with it.”
Everyone is encouraged to come to see the work of the directing students and their casts this week. The directing class has been working hard all semester to improve their work and make this showcase the best that it can be. Performances are this Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 6 and 7 at 6 p.m. in Dewitt Studio Theatre. Both performances are free for everyone.
Here is a list of scenes, directors, and actors that will be shown at “Doritos, Love, and the Lack Thereof”:
“The Lacy Project” by Alena Smith
Directed by Katy Smith
Charlotte- Elaina Organek
Lacy- Kelsey Sivertson
“Five Mile Lake” by Rachel Bonds
Directed by Rachel Scott
Mary- Rachel Leep
Rufus- Noah Stewart
“Independence” by Lee Blessing
Directed by Abigail Doonan
Sherry- Sophia Haskett
Jo- Charis Snyder
Kess- Freddie Baker
“Bright Half-Life” by Tanya Barfield
Directed by Bri Tomczak
Erica- Cecilia Casper
Vicky- Ellie Cocking
“Homelife” by Edward Albee
Directed by Grant McKenzie
Peter- Wesley Stewart
Ann- Elliana Johnson
“Chalk” by Walt McGough
Directed by Jack Slevin
Cora- Ruby Hlathein
Maggie- Sofia Wake
“Time Hole” by Erin Proctor
Directed by Emily Dykhouse
Lior- Mykaelis North
Clothilde- Sophie Reay
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