One-Acts: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

A picture of my one-act from last year: A Streak of Lavender written by Mac Gallinson ’17

As the spring term starts to get underway, there are any number of things that students here get excited about: spending time on the Circle in the sun, playing tent ball with the spring formal and prize day tents, feeling the days get longer and longer, and enjoying the intramural sporting titan that is the Groton Evening Softball League. But for me, the most exciting thing about spring term starts in earnest this Monday. Because this Monday is auditions for One-Acts.

Groton School’s One-Acts Festival is a night of short (about 10–15 minute) student-written, student-produced, and student-directed one-act plays. In one night, you get to see comedies, dramas, farces, mysteries, and everything in between, all featuring the hard work of your fellow students. Needless to say, these plays are a hit. The past two years, one-acts took place in the small black-box theater of the performing arts center, and both times the line to get a seat started two hours before show time. This year, because of that massive demand, the festival will take place on the mainstage, with room for the whole school to see them, but I expect the excitement will be no less strong this time around.

An image from another one-act from 2016

This spring, I am directing my third one-act: a play called Anna by my formmate Alex Waxman ’18. I don’t want to give anything away about this play, but I will tell you that in past years I directed a play centering on the historical theory that Abraham Lincoln was gay (trust me, it was brilliantly written) and a play I wrote based on interviews with other students about mental health at Groton.

Directing is something that I myself am passionate about—I even went so far as to take a one-on-one tutorial in the subject—but it is also something that can be a great experience even if you only do it once. It really is an amazing thing that every year, eight or so students get to try their hand at steering a play. As a director you have to inspire and lead your cast while also not becoming overbearing. You need to plan ahead and coordinate with the technical side of the production. It is a lesson in everything from patience to organization—and something pretty darn special that you get to do.

And you get to make an audience laugh while you’re at it.