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Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

Niles West Theatre Department Premieres “I Am”
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Director’s Studio: A Festival of Plays


Director’s Studio is a class first and an event later. Theater teacher and director Andrew “Andy” Sinclair offers this class after taking the Theater Workshop and Acting courses. The goal of the class is to learn the key components that go into directing a play as well as musicals. The cool part about this class is their final. This year there are 18 students in Sinclair’s class, and all 18 get to direct and cast their own 10-minute play. In order to break up the three hours, the 18 student directors were split into three teams of six.

With so many plays, the usually one or two day showcase is instead a four day “festival,” giving the name The Director’s Studio: A Festival of Student Directed 10-Minute Plays. The last time there had been something resembling this year’s Director’s Studio was five years ago in 2011.

“Being a part of this class, and being able to experience directing first-hand has been a little stressful. Despite it being stressful, I have been so excited to share my vision with my peers in the form of a play — and I strive to create the best product possible,” senior Cosette Nowik said.

These upperclassmen have been active in theater classrooms and working on the plays; whether it was behind the scenes, working on props, costumes, or being an actor, they’ve participated plenty in their previous years. Senior Cameron Koniarski explains that coming from different positions also influences their directing style.

“So Grant [Killian] has been acting for years in and outside of school. He got to experience different work with different directors so he can pull from those experiences, whereas I’m developing my own directing style,” Koniarski said.

Of course it’ll be understandably nerve wracking for these students to present their work to strangers and friends alike. Senior Alissa Santana gave some insight on her feelings about the upcoming showcase.

“I’m more nervous as a director than I am an actor. It’s weird. I’m really nervous to see what I direct because I don’t know how people will react and reeling to my work and my vision for the show,” Santana said.

The directors like Koniarski, Nowik, and Santana are also responsible for choosing the play they want to direct, cast, and showcase, and they also needed to schedule the rehearsals for their play. The 10-minute plays are actually scenes from longer plays, making the the show a collage of scenes.

Santana’s play is a dramedy (a drama and comedy) telling the story of loquacious Melissa and reserved Barry. The characters are played by juniors Caroline Ryan and Anthony Saldana, both of whom Santana has developed a closer friendship with, their foundation being the play.

“I have built a strong relationship with both actors while directing this show. Before this whole process, I wasn’t close with them, but now I can truly call them good friends. Without having this experience, I wouldn’t have been able to connect with such great people,” Santana said.

The Director’s Studio: A Festival of Student Directed 10-Minute Plays will be presented in the Black Box Theater on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., Thursday at 4:30 p.m., Friday at 4:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., and Saturday at 1:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The three groups will be presenting on different days.

Group 1 will be performing on the Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. and Friday at 7:30 p.m. times. The group consists of junior Sean Collins and seniors Jamie Vinesar, Jimbo Pestano, Maria Kuo, Camille Rowe, and Kayla Brill.

Group 2, which consists of juniors Riley Pranian, Molly Schoenbeck, and seniors Alana Knobel, Stephanie Gubin, Nowik, and Koniarski will perform on the Thursday at 4:30 p.m. slot and the Saturday at 1:00 p.m. slot.

Group 3 will showcase their plays on Friday at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday at 4:00 p.m. The group is composed of seniors Isaiah Chauhan,  Grant Killian, Max Sorensen, Kevin Little, Gabriel Isho, and Santana.

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