Photo by Jackson Fox-Bland
Wilson students, parents, and faculty spend three nights each year in the black box for an evening of laughter, innuendo, and talent at the annual One Acts. There is a huge assortment of plays, ranging from an avant-garde piece featuring little more than toast and a toaster to an adventure involving a sperm bank.
The process of putting the plays together takes place over the course of one month, with students taking on the roles of actors, writers, and directors, coming together to produce the show, with the help of Wilson’s theatre troupe, the Players.
During auditions, prospective actors are given a brief synopsis of each one act and go around to audition for whichever ones suit their fancy. “I chose a couple, just like a small amount, there were only a few that I was really going for. And then I came across this ‘Therapy Session” one that I was in, and I saw the character I wanted, and that’s who I just read for the entire time,” explained junior Ricardo Sheler, who played the anime-obsessed character “Zay” in one of the shows.
The creative license defines the Wilson One Acts experience. “I would say like, the first few things that I do are from the script, but a lot of my mannerisms and especially the whole roast battle thing, that was pretty much all improv,” Sheler explained. The freedom to improvise is what sets the One Acts apart from other Wilson performances.
Senior Caleb Balmoris has been helping to produce the One Acts for the past four years. As a Player, Balmoris explained that he takes part in selecting the plays and who the directors will be. Once the different plays have been assembled, “It’s just making sure that everything’s going well with the directors, with the actors, every single aspect, tech aspect, everything needs to be on top.”
Balmoris added that his favorite part of being a producer is seeing the finished product. “When you’re reading them from the start, and you’re like, this would be so fun to see, and like what people could do with it, and sometimes it’s in that direction and sometimes it goes in a totally different direction, and you’re totally blown away with where it was taken.”
The One Acts are a prime opportunity for less experienced actors to dip their feet into the proverbial water that is the Wilson theater. “I feel like you’re acting without stressing about memorizing things too much,” said freshman Hiram Valladares, who played Cop #3 in “Thirsty Cops.”.
The One Acts also serve as a bonding experience for the actors and directors. “It’s a good environment; everyone’s really nice,” said freshman Avery Linette, who played Eve in “Adam and Eve.” “You can meet new people and make new friends” Linette added.
Although some of the One Acts were adapted from professionally written plays, several were written by Wilson students. Senior Sierra Johnson wrote and directed “Therapy Session.” “Writing my one-act was so fun because it all came together so easily, and I laughed pretty much the entire time I was writing,” Johnson explained. She added that her inspiration mainly came from real life experiences. “[‘Therapy Session’] was satire, a short and funny skit. I thought about some funny things off of the top of my head and found a way to put them all together.”
Johnson also enjoyed directing her one-act. “Rehearsals were so fun I forgot it was work. It also was so rewarding to see my vision come to life on stage, but I really have my cast to thank for that.”
The One Acts are full of laughs for both the audience and the students involved in producing them. “I loved writing and directing so much for the One Acts, I recommend more people get involved!” Johnson added.