Two student-directed plays reminded audience members to appreciate the small things in life during the annual Theatre Northwest Lab Series at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8-9 in the Black Box Theatre.
Junior Courtney Amaro and senior Samantha Friday each prepared shows no longer than 30 minutes with their casts for “A Spring Evening of One-Acts.” Amaro directed “No Time” by Laurence Klavan, and Friday directed “Post-Its (Notes on a Marriage)” by Paul Dooley and Winnie Holzman.
“No Time” followed Randolph Hackmeat as he started his new job at a law firm. His father sent him off by reminding him to enjoy it while he could because “Life is short.” He almost immediately became a full partner, and the rest of his life passed by just as quickly.
Amaro chose the play for its humor and the lesson it conveys.
“It’s hilarious,” Amaro said. “It’s just something everybody should hear and realize: that you should not work your life away, not wish your life away and just focus on the moment and enjoy that. Live life, (and do) not take things for granted.”
Amaro and her crew had three weeks to prepare the show with auditions Jan. 17. However, Amaro, her production manager and two of her cast members went to a conference the week after auditions, so they didn’t have their first rehearsal until Jan. 27.
“We’ve lost three rehearsals to snow,” Amaro said. “I think we’ve had nine rehearsals. That’s pretty stressful. Especially because it’s a very fast-paced show, there’s a lot of entrances and exits. Everyone except the lead plays at least two characters, so they’ve had a lot less time than I would have liked to get down those characterization differences.”
Amaro worked with a five-member cast even though the play was originally written for seven. The two actresses, junior Cait Redman and freshman Riley Neighbors, each played two characters. Senior Gavin Hopkins and Martin Boyle, a non-traditional student, both played five different characters.
Sophomore Cory Busch played the lead.
“I like being someone else for a while,” Busch said. “I think it’s really fun to assume the role of somebody else’s life. Because there are a lot of situations that a lot of people get into in plays that you don’t get to be in yourself.”
Redman played the Hackmeat’s secretary who called his office often to announce a visitor.
“It’s really different from any main-stage show you’re going to see here,” Redman said. “This is going to be a more quick-paced, fun and casual experience, and I think that’s just a nice change of pace.”
Amaro was proud of her cast members for all the work they’ve put in for the show.
“They’ve done a really amazing job, especially with all the limitations of time and then rehearsals getting canceled,” Amaro said. “They’ve done an amazing job picking up everything and really growing throughout the whole process and their characters. That’s been pretty cool to watch.”
“Post-Its (Notes on a marriage)”
“Post-Its (Notes on a Marriage)” showed the lives of a man and a woman, played by sophomore Wyatt Cooper and freshman McKenzie Duval, as they develop their relationship, solely communicating on sticky notes. The play shows parts of their lives together, depicting things such as getting married, having a child, having arguments and eventually death.
This show was the first time Friday solo directed. After the experience of preparing this show, she is excited to direct more.
“I wanted to direct because I have a passion for creating things on stage,” Friday said. “I used to love acting, but directing is now my favorite.”
Friday chose this show because she knew she wanted to direct something more serious. All the shows she assisted in directing before were comedies, so she wanted to try something different.
While the show was mainly serious, it still had its comedic moments. Amaro helped strengthen the humor in Friday’s show.
“We definitely drew some inspirations from each other,” Friday said. “When we’d watch each other’s rehearsals, we’d bounce ideas off each other.”
Friday and Amaro had their own processes for selecting and preparing their shows. Yet, the two plays had a couple parallels.
“I don’t know how we planned this but we both somehow picked a show that had a time change in it and also just people appreciating the things in their life,” Friday said.
Despite the time constraints, Amaro and Friday were proud of their actors for making the shows successful. Many of the students involved with the one-acts will be part of Theatre Northwest’s production of “Macbeth” April 11-14.