Students Writer One Acts

By Esperanza Juarez

The Cal Poly department of theatre arts is gearing up for its
latest production, but this time around the students are in
charge.

As part of a bi-annual event the department will host “Student
Written One Acts” over a four-day span beginning April 26.

Every other year the department offers a writing class where
students are responsible for writing a one-act play as their final
project.

“It’s their own imaginations; it’s their own issues; it’s
whatever they want to write about,” said Bernardo Solano, assistant
professor for the theatre department.

From that point on it was a series of editing and presenting and
editing some more. The plays were then sorted through and a select
few were chosen for production by the department.

“It’s a department project [but] it’s completely open,” said
Julian White, assistant

professor for the theatre department and head of the directing
program. “There are students that are not theatre majors who have
auditioned for this project. It’s a Cal Poly community project at
this point.”

In total, the department will present eight plays that vary in
subject matter with four plays on each night.

From inception to full production students have had their hands
and thoughts in every step of the creative process.

“I am very interested in directing as a career, so when I heard
that the department was planning this Student Written One Act
Festival I immediately knew I wanted to be very involved,” said
Mary E. Schneider, a fourth-year theatre student. “I was also very
excited to hear that the one act that I wrote was chosen to be a
part of the festival.”

Schneider is just one of the many students who have used this
opportunity to participate in various aspects of production. She is
performing in one piece and directing three others, one of which is
her own.

“‘Untitled’ is a one-act play without words about a family and
the conflicts that arise as a result of their inability to
communicate effectively with one another,” said Schneider.

“Trial and Error,” written by Tito Ortiz, a fourth-year theater
student, also focuses on family issues but with a twist.

“[It’s] about a young guy who is just troubled,” said Ortiz.
“He’s being molested by his mother and he tries to kill her; she
gets wind of him trying to do this to her so she sends him to this
treatment facility (…) It’s a crazy maze of emotions.”

“I hope people come to them with an open mind because they’re
all really different pieces and they’re all pretty weird in their
own way,” said Ortiz.

Overall the project has proven to be of great knowledge and
personal experience for students in the theatre department.

“This festival is such a great opportunity that this department
has given to the students because every student who has an interest
in any of the fields of theatre [such as] playwriting, directing,
acting [or] designing was given an opportunity to experience it
first-hand,” said Schneider.

Esperanza Juarez can be reached by e-mail at
arts@thepolypost.com or by phone at (909) 869-3744.

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