Nash Trumbly reporter
Students, faculty, staff, and the Pittsburg community were invited by the communication department for their annual student run one act plays. Students were tasked with the role of becoming a director for the project. They chose the script, the sets, the casting, and everything else a director might encounter.
“It’s a collaboration between a bunch of kids putting on shows that they felt were important to them and for people to see,” said Jerry Middleton, a senior in communications.
The show featured 13 student actors, including Middleton himself, participating in 4 shows, each done in only one act, and presenting a broad range of topics from comedy to drama.
“One I’m in is really funny, but another one I’m in is, no, I’m not going to say profound, but like it’s trying to teach a message,” Middleton said.
And with these different messages, students like Jerry were hoping the audience was more than just entertained by the performances.
“I think people should be changed in some way by what they see. And hopefully it’s a good experience that opens their mind,” Middleton said.
For the 4 students directing the performances, the production served as more than just a learning opportunity butut as a significant portion of their grade.
The acts were presented as part of COMM*544 Stage Direction, the capstone class for communication majors emphasizing in communication education.
Megan Westhoff, an assistant professor for the communication department, described the first part of the semester understanding the fundamentals. But the rest of the semester was focused on putting the one-act together.
“Like I always tell them, I’m going to throw them in the water, I’m going to prepare them as much as possible. They have to figure out what to do when things go wrong… there’s not always a handbook”.
Though this process can be extremely helpful when students enter their careers it’s not always easy at the time.
One of the directors and students of the stage direction course, Grace Springer, described how the process has been for her and her fellow directors. “It’s been quite a bit since this is the first time a majority of us as directors have done something like this… But it’s been going great so far, and I think everyone involved has been doing a great job,” said Grace Springer a senior in theater.
Springer directed the first one act play of the evening, “Relative Strangers”, in which actors portray 2 women sitting next to each other on a flight – only one of the women believes the other may serve as the mother she never had. The audience seemingly was impressed by the comedy, and Grace is glad to show off her hard work.
“Honestly, I’m just really excited for them to be able to get to see this finished product of the culmination of all our hard work”.