Leave it to Staples Players to produce “Romeo and Juliet” — with a Caribbean twist.
“Once on This Island”takes over Toquet Hall this Friday (8 p.m.) and Saturday (5 and 8 p.m.).
It’s an intriguing show — there’s catchy music, great dancing, dynamic characters, amazing costumes, and of course the age-old question: love or death?
Senior directors Kathryn Durkin and Greg Langstine had to work within the tight confines of Toquet Hall. It wasn’t easy squeezing a cast of 23 (and an 8-person pit orchestra) on a small stage, then making music and magic happen.
But they did it. Players always does it. Check out the sneak peek below:
(Tickets will be sold at Toquet Hall 30 minutes before each show.)
Staples Players is known for many things: spectacular mainstage shows. Innovative Black Box productions. Last spring’s amazing 50th anniversary reunion.
Less well known is the One Act Festival.
This year’s event — the 10th annual — continues an intriguing tradition. Students take charge of every aspect: They find 1-act plays; they cast them, design sets, create costumes, and of course direct them. All students are members of David Roth’s Directing class.
This year’s show features 17 1-acts — comedy, drama, you name it — by writers as diverse as Edgar Allan Poe, Dorothy Parker and J.D. Salinger. None is longer than 10 minutes. They’ll be presented Saturday (5 and 8 p.m.) and Sunday (5 p.m.). Not every play will be staged at each performance.
One Act participants (clockwise from upper left): Peter Molesworth, Max Samuels, Greg Langstine, Caley Beretta (Photo by Kerry Long)
For 3 years, senior Caley Beretta has served as an assistant director for Roth. This weekend she steps onto the stage — for her 1st time at Staples — as an actor in “The DMV Tyrant” (a comedy, of course).
“It’s so much fun being on the other side of things,” she says. “Other people who are usually on tech have gotten the chance to act as well. One Acts gives everyone the opportunity to try something different. That’s awesome.”
“DMV” is the 1st real directing effort for actor Peter Molesworth. The junior “loves the atmosphere of working with a small group of actors. There is a dynamic present when working with students your own age. They have respect and sympathy for the work you put in, and everything else going on outside of rehearsal.”
He adds: “It’s also fun to see Caley — who has always been in a directing or leadership role — step down into the actor’s shoes. They fit her flawlessly.”
Peter appreciates playwright Christopher Durang’s simple script. “It leaves so much room for interpretation,” the novice director says.
Junior Max Samuels is directing “Normal.” The set is very simple; the subject matter, deep (a father-son relationship). “It has a great ending that will make the audience teary-eyed,” Max promises.
Junior Greg Langstine chose to direct “The Audition” because it’s a comedy. “I put myself in place of the audience,” he explains. “Laughter is the best way to go.”
Peter Molesworth calls the One Act Festival environment “very nurturing and open. It gives underclassmen an opportunity to shine, either on stage or directing.
“One Acts are pure fun,” he adds. “It’s Staples Players at its root. It’s up close in the Black Box, and incredibly vulnerable for a lot of people. It’s so much of ourselves that it’s sort of frightening. That also makes it so exciting.”
Click here to help support “06880” via credit card or PayPal. Any amount is welcome, appreciated — and tax-deductible! Reader contributions keep this blog going. (Alternate methods: Please send a check to “06880”: PO Box 744, Westport, CT 06881. Or use Venmo: @blog06880. Or Zelle: email@example.com. Thanks!)