In its final performance of the school year, the Palo Alto High School Theater Department is putting on its annual One Acts from May 3 to May 5 in the Performing Arts Center.
According to senior producer Nandini Relan, One Acts consists of eight short comedy acts, two of which were written by students. Because all the shows are directed and produced by students, this performance is very different than the traditional high school theater production, senior director Emily Zhang said.
“One Acts is always one of the more relaxed, more free things we do, because the main stage shows are huge tasks and they are not student-directed,” Zhang said. “One Acts is a really good chance to have a lot of mini plays, to have a lot of shorter smaller plays that are student-directed. We come up with the rehearsal schedule on our own, we rehearse outside of school, we plan it out with the actors.”
This year’s One Acts will also feature Paly’s Improvisational Troupe, who will be putting on an improvised performance in which students will have to improvise a scene based on the random props, costumes, lighting and sound cues given to them, Zhang said.
In addition to the improvised act, this year’s show will be shorter and smaller than past years’.
“A lot of the shows are smaller shows and there aren’t that many roles this year,” Zhang said. “But there are a lot of smaller tight knit two-three one acts this year.”
Because One Acts is student-run, many students undertook more managerial roles in this production, rather than acting.
“Being a producer, you aren’t involved with the creative aspects of the show, which is a lot different than my experiences in directing/acting,” Relan said.
Zhang said she was excited about her first experience directing and found her past experience as an actress and working backstage to be helpful when directing her show, “Cinnamon Rainbow.”
“Having done acting and tech, it sort of helps you direct because you understand where everyone is coming from and what they need to know,” Zhang said. “Often times, people don’t understand each other, so getting to know what’s on the other end makes it easier. I know as an actor, I really enjoy doing character work and talking through the script and making sure everyone is on the same page. So as a director, I really wanted to make sure my actors really got some character work in there.”
For seniors, One Acts is the last production they will partake in before graduation. Zhang said that while she is sad to leave, she is confident in the talent of the underclassmen.
“I’m very happy with all the new people we have, they are going to be great next year,” Zhang said. “I’m feeling really good about where I’m leaving them. And the seniors, we have given them enough guidance in terms of where to go from now on. They are going to be great.”