CVU students direct and produce spring one-act plays

The word theater has a long history, deriving from the ancient Greek word “theasthai,” which means to behold.

The spring one-act plays at Champlain Valley Union High School have their own history and traditions, and the plays are definitely something to behold.

This year’s plays are a one-act comedy by Christopher Durang, “The Actor’s Nightmare,” and a truncated one-act version of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

Courtesy photoRose Lord of Charlotte wields an axe during a rehearsal of “The Actor’s Nightmare” at Champlain Valley High.
Courtesy photo
Rose Lord of Charlotte wields an axe during a rehearsal of “The Actor’s Nightmare” at Champlain Valley High.

In the spirit of collaboration, there are five student co-directors for the two plays, two stage managers, and an assistant stage manager who is also in charge of props and publicity.

By CVU tradition, the spring plays are wholly produced by the students. They direct, act, operate the lighting and sound, make all the costumes, do hair and make-up, create publicity pieces, and design and build the sets. Many students have an opportunity to contribute in a multitude of ways, with a focus on inclusivity and commitment to creative collaboration.

Gabbie LindenMeyr, Ian Story and Eric Carroll are co-directors for “The Actor’s Nightmare.” Carroll suggested Durang’s play, and the others agreed. “It’s a wonderful show. I’ve always wanted to direct a comedy,” said Carroll. Story nodded and smiled in agreement.

Rory McDermott and Francesca Krol share directorial responsibilities for “Hamlet.” Hamlet works as a one-act play, McDermott said, “We still have all the important contextual bits that tell the original story.”

Krol added, “We’re putting a lot of trust in the actors, particularly in Clark Clark who plays Hamlet, to emphasize the aspects of the play that aren’t included. I’ve always viewed directing as a very inclusive process with the actors, so it’s been a team effort.”

Asked for any personal insights about the experience, LindenMeyr said, “Everything is different than I thought it would be. Blocking, for instance. Blocking is harder than acting.”

“I’ve worked with adult and student directors for various productions, and working with student directors is always really fun — especially when you know them. The collaboration tends to be more fun from a tech point of view,” said Will Richardson, assistant stage manager. “Also, the student directors don’t tend to ask for quite as much, technically.”

“I’m really impressed with the entire tech team,” said Izora Hart, one of the stage managers.

The entire set for “Hamlet” was assembled in less than a month.

Performances are at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 5, and Saturday, May 6, and 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 7, at the CVU High School theater. Purchase tickets online or at the door. (Check the ticket site first to ensure the show is not sold out.) Online tickets are $10 for adults; $8 for students, children and faculty; and $11 and $9 at the door.