Capital University Theatre is wrapping up the virtual play season with a festival of one-act plays directed by students, which is set to premiere March 25-28 and will be accessible via a Zoom Webinar. We were able to chat with all four student directors about their individual plays and how the virtual directing experience is going.
This year’s festival will include an original script written by the directors, an original adaptation of a filmic text adapted for the stage, and two contemporary short plays. This year’s student directors are Holly Hanson, Michaela Clem Jacobs, Mackenzie Leland, and Maddie Fleckenstein, who are all senior Theatre Studies students.
Hanson’s original play is titled “Desiderium”, which is a Latin word meaning to long for, grieve, or desire something that has been lost. It is a drama that is centered around an elderly man who is reflecting on his younger days, specifically on how he was treated as a closeted gay man during the Lavender Scare of the 1950s.
When writing her play, Hanson structured it virtually so that she wouldn’t have to make too many changes when it came time to start rehearsing via Zoom. She is grateful to be working with a flexible cast that feels like one close, cohesive group, despite them all being in separate places.
“I’m most looking forward to seeing everything performed, finally, from start to finish with all of the special effects and costumes added in,” Hanson said.
Clem Jacobs’ play, titled “The Mortal Remains”, is an adaptation of the last short story in an anthological film called “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”. It is centered around five people in a stagecoach who are all being led to “the other side”. It’s an exploration of the different perceptions of what it means to be human.
This is Clem Jacobs’ first time directing virtually, but she and the cast have only run into minor technical challenges so far that have been pretty manageable. Overall, rehearsals are going well and it’s all coming together quicker than she’d anticipated.
“I think we’ve done a good job considering the resources we have, and what we’re working with,” Clem Jacobs said. “It just feels like everybody is genuinely interested and excited, and that makes it so much easier to work with people.”
Leland’s play is centered around the main character, Cindy, as she ventures into the world of speed dating and goes on a number of different dates. It essentially invites the audience to sit in on Cindy’s dates as they happen.
As far as her virtual directing experience goes, Leland explained that the virtual aspect has brought about more advantages than setbacks. It tends to make rehearsal time more efficient since the cast only needs to login and then they’re ready to go. The cast consists of about seven actors, with some of the male actors playing two different characters.
“I love digging in deep and having those conversations that I think ultimately give the characters more dimension,” Leland said.
Fleckenstein’s play, titled “Original Relocation”, follows the story of the first Man and Woman soon after they were exiled from the Garden of Eden. During the play they discuss many aspects such as guilt, plans for the future, and their relationships in life. She’s heard the story countless times since her grandfather was a pastor, so she’s eager to do it justice.
After years of acting in plays herself, this is Fleckenstein’s first-ever directing experience. She describes the feeling of being responsible for everything pertaining to the show as a very odd and humbling feeling.
“I am very grateful to have this experience and broaden my theatre horizons,” Fleckenstein said.