Theatre Central’s One Acts returns in-person after two years of COVID


Jay Deegan

Senior Quinn Hurley and juniors Jillian Poole and Reese Kennedy perform “Totally Tubular” in Central’s auditorium as part of the annual One Acts show.

C.J. Getting, Staff Writer

Theatre Central performed their annual One Acts plays on May 12-14 from in the auditorium. One Acts is “a compilation of five or six student-written 20 minute skits,” according to Theatre Central’s website.

This year, however, there were only four such plays. The decrease comes during the third year of COVID-19, which has forced changes to many areas of Theatre Central.

“We didn’t have as many submissions this year because people don’t know what One Acts is, so they don’t know how to write one,” said senior Kaitlyn Gray, who student-produced the show. “We didn’t have as many people auditioning [either]. We usually have over 100, this year we had around 60.”

However, the turnout was above expectations for other members of Theatre Central, as it was juniors’ first in-person One Acts.

“As we are rebuilding after two years of not having live theater, it was a great start towards getting back to what we’ve seen,” Executive Producer and faculty sponsor Susan Johnson said. “I was thrilled with that turnout.”

In 2020, One Acts was canceled just four hours before actors were supposed to take the stage because of COVID. In 2021, it was held over Zoom. Just a few months ago, students were wearing face shields during their fall main stage performance.

“They pulled it together really well,” Johnson said.

The success of One Acts could be due to an easing of COVID restrictions before the performance, Gray said.

“We’re getting closer to what things used to be,” Johnson said. “There really weren’t many changes to the standard practice that we used to have. It felt like what we’ve been able to do before.”

Another significant adjustment ahead of the performance was the impact of COVID itself, as a number of cast members contracted the virus following Theatre Central’s musical.

“We didn’t have a single rehearsal before tech week,” Gray said. “We only had one or two rehearsals before opening night.”

For some directors, they weren’t even able to see their acts until they were on the main stage.

“I was out for the entirety of tech week,” junior Jane Armstrong said, who wrote and directed of one of the four acts.

Junior and stage manager Lucy Murphy helped put together Armstrong’s play, “Evening at the Institute,” when Armstrong was in quarantine.

“[The show] follows three high school students (played by freshmen Sabrina Tse and Isaac Kalathiveetil and junior Laura Koo) as they go on a field trip to an art institute,” Armstrong said. “They get locked in the museum overnight [and] find out all of the artifacts come to life. ‘Night at the Museum’ [served as inspiration for] my sketch.”

But Armstrong wasn’t the only one out with COVID in the days before the final performance. There were over 20 cast members under quarantine during that time.

“A lot of [cast members] weren’t [available by opening night], so a lot of directors had to cut lines or parts from their plays or they had to double-cast people,” Gray said.

Junior Alexis Mucho, for example, played three different roles during ‘Totally Tubular,’ which was directed by Kassidy Wiskari, who also had to perform on-stage when one of the actors was unavailable to perform.

“It’s about this man [named Jason] who has a condition where he can only say ‘90s catch phrases, and his wife (played by junior Jillian Poole) runs around and tries to find a cure at different places,” said junior Reese Kennedy, who plays Jason in the show.

“Pretty much everyone at Theatre Central is involved in [One Acts], so we don’t really have a lot of people we can swap in if one of our actors was gone,” Armstrong said.

With many of the actors and directors under quarantine, it became a challenge to prepare for opening night.

“A lot of the [staging of actors] was very much last minute,” freshman Nina Rao said, who played Captain Robust in “Trinkets and Tricks.” “We didn’t have a lot of time to prepare things, but I think everyone really pulled together and did a nice job in the end.”

‘Trinkets and Tricks’ was co-written by juniors Zainab Mahmood and Pearle Bramlett.

“It’s about this duo (played by junior Adelaide Fleming and freshman Jamie Kwon) who accidentally end up at the Superhero Department of Labor and get involved in this superhero world,” Fleming said.

The final play of the evening was “Coachella: Weekend 3,” which was written and directed by senior Piper Hope, the President of Theatre Central.

“Best friends (played by junior Kate Fosco and senior Nelson Lindmark) are offered tickets to the third weekend of Coachella, [which] turn out to be a scam,” Fosco said.  “While being stranded in the [Californian] desert, the girls encounter the Coachella Babies [and] hallucinations of Harry Styles and Ariana Grande (played by senior Lloyd Epelbaum and junior Tessa Mathew).”

Despite the challenges COVID presented, One Acts made a successful return, Johnson said.

“We ended up having four great shows,” Johnson said. “It’s one of the highlights for Theatre Central.”