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The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

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Preview: “One Acts” returns for student-led theater

Ketan Altekar-Okazaki
Senior actor Lucianna Peralta serves dinner during a rehearsal of “Dinners and Sinners,” directed by seniors Eloise Dumas and Abigail Friedland. The play is one of six “One Acts,” student-only led productions that will be performed Thursday through Saturday at 7 p.m. According to actor Lily Jeffrey, a junior, the best part about “One Acts” is that she gets to work with her friends. “I have always loved my [current] directors as actors and as friends, so it is super fun to work with them,” Jeffrey said. “They are really great at directing and are super flexible, so overall my experience has been that they are great to work with.”

Theater students will perform and direct their own plays in the “One Acts” performance put together by Paly Theatre at 7 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday in the Performing Arts Center at Palo Alto High School.

Past “One Acts” have included snippets of “No Exit” by Jean-Paul Sartre and the Tony-winning play “Proof” written by David Auburn, but this time the audience shouldn’t expect any familiar pieces. This is because the performance will be a set of six acts, all of which are written by students, according to actor Lily Jeffrey, a junior.

Jeffrey will play Stephanie in the “Dinners and Sinners” one-act directed by seniors Eloise Dumas and Abigail Friedland. According to Jeffrey, she went through her usual process to get into character. 

“I typically start by just reading through the script and familiarizing myself with the story and my character, then trying to develop my character by thinking about different small ways to bring it to life,” Jeffrey said. “For Stephanie specifically, I already was familiar with how I wanted to go about the role because her role was the monologue I initially auditioned with. I had to think about the different characteristics of her personality — awkward, impulsive, a bit shy and insanely in love.”

Theater teacher Sarah Thermond said “One Acts” has allowed the students that she has taught to be able to discover their own path with theater, whether that be acting or directing. 

“One of the coolest things about Theater is how interconnected every job is when making a production successful,” Thermond said. “And, I feel like at Paly our actors and technicians have a decent understanding and good respect for each other’s work. However, there’s always more for them to learn about the managerial side, especially directing and producing. ‘One Acts’ gives them a great way to look at producing a new-works festival and everything that has to be considered to go into it.”

According to Jeffrey, the student-run performances help lessen the stress that often comes with major productions.

“Student-run performances are great because they give students more chance to help others with what they [the performers] are good at, and it is overall a fun experience in an environment with less pressure,” Jeffrey said.

Thermond said it’s gratifying when she sees a student mimicking her directing since she knows they are learning from her.

“I absolutely love when I overhear a [student] director saying something to their cast that I’ve told them, or the times when a student comes up to me and says, ‘I feel you about xyz now that I’m directing,’” Thermond said. “It’s great practice to be able to organize everyone’s schedule, backward plan from your end goals and learn how to give artistic feedback in a way that works for your team. As an arts teacher, I hope I’m training future industry professionals, and that they will set that kind of tone as they go into the field.”

There is a $5 suggested donation for tickets at the door.

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About the Contributor
Ketan Altekar-Okazaki
Ketan Altekar-Okazaki, Senior Staff Writer
Ketan Altekar-Okazaki (Class of 2024) joined The Voice his junior year and enjoys volunteering in his free time.

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