Taking The Final Bow

Theater seniors direct one-act plays as final goodbye to program


The black box theater hums with the noises of anticipation: people shuffling into their seats, friends whispering hello’s to each other and the lights beginning to dim. While finally presenting any performance is always exhilarating, for seniors in the theater program this is the moment they have been waiting for since they were freshman, this is the day of their Student Directed One Act Play (SDOAP). 

“The Student Directed One Act Play showcase is a series of up to six different 40 minute long student directed and often student written plays performed in the blackbox theater,” senior Keean Dailey said. “The students are given actors and budget to help their show be the best it can be. It’s usually split up into two programs with 3 shows each split across three days. And it’s an incredibly fun time.”

This year, these highly anticipated performances took place May 4-6 and featured the works of five seniors: Ivy Toler, Alma Sullivan, Keean Dailey, Thomas Mosher and Liam Harrell. The unique theater event was a chance for these students to present a culmination of their years in the theater program and many directors opted not only to cast and direct a play, but to write an original, adding an extra level of creativity to the performances. Thomas was one such student.

“The show I wrote was called Sacred Heart,” Thomas said. “It is about the need for compassion and humanity in our ever divisive world. It follows a selfish billionaire and a poor treasure hunter, going after a crown. One [is going after it] for money and the other for what it symbolizes, and [the play also shows] how their actions affect the people around them.”

Another director who opted for an original creation was senior Alma Sullivan, pairing up with another director to create a comedic piece. 

“The show I directed was about this girl that’s this terribly unreliable employee who cannot fathom that she is getting fired,” Alma said. “It goes through a series of comedic events that lead to her firing to show that she was in the wrong. I wrote this show with my buddy Keean Dailey.”

However, the directing process was not always smooth-sailing as directors had to juggle administrative responsibilities as well as their creative ones. 

“The process is a lot of logistics and adaptability,” Thomas said. “Your vision [is] dependent on your actors availability. [Also you have] to gather and teach everything needed. Then rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.”

Even with the multiple components needed to put together a stage-worthy performance, the seniors still found time to enjoy the creative process.

“I had a lot of fun with directing mine as we were pretty efficient with getting our stuff done so a lot of the time we were just able to hangout and get to know each other,” Alma said. “But other than that there was a lot going on to manage and just figuring out how to balance everything.”

A major part of the performance still revolves around giving theater seniors a final time to celebrate their love for the art form, spending time with the friends they’ve made and giving back to the program.

“My favorite part of student directs is getting to have fun and hangout with my cast and just grow the community within theatre a little more,” Alma said. 

Like any performing art, however, nothing is more rewarding than the final performances.

“My favorite part had to be the performance days,” Keean said. “I wrote a very fun script, yet the beauty of theater is watching your writing evolve as you and your actors really get to immerse yourselves in the world of the story. What ended up being performed was a group effort, and was much better than any show I could have devised all on my own. It was a proud moment for all of us, and I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity.”