One-Acts Bring Down the House


Kaitlyn Rauch (12), Trevor Caragan (12), and Eleanor Home (10) in Jordan Greene’s take on 21 Chum Street, by playwright Lin Manuel Miranda. Photo taken by Kiana Greene.

The success of the spring musical, Guys and Dolls, have students excited to see yet another show put on by the drama department. In fact, the next round of shows casted several new members who were inspired by the last show. But this time around, there is a special twist: each performance that is seen was directed by a student. Three students who showcased their talent on stage in the fall play or spring musical used their talents to put together the annual and popular One-Acts. This year’s directors are senior Maren Gude, senior Jordan Greene, and junior Kiana Greene.


Maren Gude is directing a comedy called This is a Test, by Stephen Gregg. What makes this show such a good choice is that it is relatable, especially to high school students, who more often than not, dread test taking. Gregg’s play is a humorous exaggeration of everything that can possibly go wrong while taking a test that you didn’t know about. You didn’t get the review sheets, your classmates are cheating but the teacher hates you, so following their lead would be disastrous for your grade, and as if matters could not get any worse, the final essay question is in chinese, a language you have never studied before! This is what will determine your future, and there is no way out.


This is not the first year that Jordan Greene has directed in Gig Harbor’s One Act Festival. Last year as a junior, she directed Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, winning nearly every single One-Act award. This year, Jordan is challenging herself with the production of a 15 minute musical by popular playwright Lin Manuel Miranda, 21 Chump Street. In this both dramatic and comedic musical based on a true story, an intelligent senior in high school, Justin Laboi, falls for a transfer student named Naomi who isn’t what she seems. Naomi is actually an undercover cop trying to bust students for buying and selling “pills and weed” in order to make “life safer one school at a time.” In order to impress the seemingly playing-hard-to-get Naomi, when she sets him up to get some weed for her, he agrees without thought. In the end, the heartbroken Justin is put in jail for his crime.


Kiana Greene is directing her interpretation of Laura Lundgren Smith’s Dark Road. It tells the story of Greta, a young girl who lives in Nazi Germany. Greta finds an ad for women guards in Nazi concentration camps, and decides to take the opportunity as a way to find herself and to provide for her sister Lise, not knowing of the horror behind closed doors. Soon she realizes the reality of her duties, only to follow her “dark road” even further by justifying her actions. Lise is horrified at what her sister becomes. This dramatic and emotional performance exposes how easy it is for evil to become ordinary. The play ended with Hailey Hauser’s (Greta) memorable line as she is about to be hanged for her war crimes, “There are monsters in all of us.”


The Awards


It might be cliche to say, but every single actor and actress performed stunningly. Part of the reason it was such a cool performance to watch was because it was several students’ theatre debut. There is all of this talent bottled up in the students you sit right across from but just never knew about. However, despite all of the talent born on the stage, only a few would walk away with awards. The one-acts are directed by a panel of judges each year. This year, there were seven. The judges take all aspects of a show into account including the individual acting abilities of each actor and actress, the set design, the lighting, and the blocking (the movement onstage. It’s a lot more complicated than it sounds. Blocking refers to where actors are told to move for dramatic effect, but it must ensure sight lines for the audience and work well with the light design of the scene).


Junior Abigail Vandoorne and freshman Oliver Strachan took home the awards for best ensemble members for their roles in Maren Gude’s take on This is a Test.


The best actor went to Trevor Caragan, in Jordan Greene’s take on 21 Chump Street while the best actress award was shared by two members: sophomore Maleija Mamea as Naomi in 21 Chump Street, and junior Iman Stephenson as the lead in This is a Test.


The best supporting actress award went to Sara Kroon for her outstandingly believable performance in Kiana Greene’s Dark Road.


Kiana Greene took home the award for best director, which was very well-deserved.


Jordan Greene won best overall production.


Despite the fact that only a few students won awards, even student judge Sydney Underwood admitted that several of the decisions got pretty cutthroat. And for all of the students who experienced performing in their first production, not only does drama director Ms. Zetterstrom hope for them to continue, but so does everyone else who watched the performances, for everyone’s outstanding job.