Juniors take on this winter’s one-act play series, ‘The Rep,’ with two works

In the right direction

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Photos by Mary Stites.

With seniors in the theater program tied up with other productions, college applications, and other work, juniors Amani Alexander, Reid Gehring, and Wyatt Martin took on this winter’s student-directed plays Dec. 5-6. The two one-act plays were “Camp Confidence,” directed by Alexander, and “I Am My Own Wife,” co-directed by Gehring and Martin.

“The seniors decided to do theirs in the spring, so it kind of fell to the juniors,” Alexander said. “When Mr. Denning announced it, we filled out applications, and we were the ones with the strongest visions and the most definite plan.”

The three juniors then worked independently to direct their productions.

“At the beginning, I was really on my own through the selection process, application process, casting process, staging and initial rehearsals,” Alexander said, “but this week, I’ve asked Mr. Denning for input on specific things, but for the most part, most of the direction has been completely independent.”

Alexander said this experience has given her and the other directors the opportunity to grow as artists.

For me personally, it’s been very uplifting being on my own because I feel like for the first time I can really get to see my own strengths and weaknesses, and so it’s been a really good growing experience for me,” Alexander said. “I’ve learned about things I need to work on, and I’ve also gotten a chance to see theater from the other end of the table, especially the casting and audition process. It’s been a great experience.”

But for Alexander, directing on her own has also been a challenge.

“For me, the most challenging thing has been dancing the fine line between ‘I am a director but I am also a peer,’” she said. “It’s really hard to direct in a way that is more diplomatic.”

Gehring said that the limited time posed a challenge, but they managed to put everything together with less than two weeks of rehearsal.

“It came down to the very last minute for some of the props and the set,” he said. ”We got to that final dress rehearsal watching our play, and I thought, ‘Wow,” he said. “’I have no reason to be nervous because these actors are doing it perfectly, exactly how I imagined it,” he said.

While originally they didn’t know what play they were going to do, they found the one the liked in the theater library. Martin said they chose this play because they liked its unique style and story.

“[Directing] is a combination of kind of exciting and scary,” Gehring said. “You feel like you’re on your own, and so you know you have control over everything, but it’s all on you if you mess up.”

Martin’s and Gehring’s play, “I Am My Own Wife,” had just two cast members playing various roles. Alexander’s play, “Camp Confidence,” was a comedy about a group of girls who went on a confidence-boosting camping trip to help them deal with various issues. For Alexander, she said the most rewarding moment when she was at her final dress rehearsal.

“When I got my last tent, I got my shirts, everything looked pulled-together, and all of my actors were off-book, I had the revelation that ‘wow, this is actually a play that I would love to show people,’” she said. “I felt proud and I wasn’t nervous anymore, I just felt really excited. “

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