Three one-acts ready to debut next week

fall playBy: Sarah Stortz

Next week, drama students will be performing three one-acts entitled Don’t Say A Word, 14 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview, and Hush Little Celia. The plays are co-directed by English teachers Michelle Rathe and Joe Frenna.

Don’t Say A Word is a comedic look at break-ups that many couples go through. The main characters, Catherine and Jack, go through a series of bad relationships and break-ups before they finally find someone who appreciates them for who they are. 14 Ways is a mix of wild antics and zany characters as they all try to claw their way through the college admission process. Hush Little Celia is a comedy-drama about a young girl named Celia who has chosen to remain silent, but her pestering friend Todd won’t let her stay withdrawn.

With a cast and crew of over 50 people, students have been practicing since late August. They rehearse four times or more a week for about three hours after school until tech week, the week prior to opening night, when they have rehearsals as late as 9 p.m.

This year marks Frenna’s CFHS debut as a director. Before teaching here, he helped direct at the Cedar Falls Community Theatre and has been directing plays ever since he was in middle school. Frenna said what he enjoys about directing is “when I’m pushing an actor and putting the actor in a certain position to perform their lines and they end up doing something completely different. In the end where the show bows, I influence everything but nothing is really mine.”

Junior Grace Gubburd plays a total of three roles in two of the plays. In Hush Little Celia, she plays both Sister Rose, a harsh nun, as well as Miss Duffy, an out of control drama teacher. In 14 Ways, she plays Gertrude, an elderly woman who is trying to get into the college party scene. In addition to polishing her acting skills, Gubburd said she also likes “to meet new people and hang out with friends.”

Senior Becky Ochoa plays the lead role as Celia Thompson in Hush Little Celia. “Rehearsals are hard work. Memorizing lines and remembering your blocking takes time. Many people in the cast have never been in a show before or have only been in one or two, so it takes time for people to learn what they are doing on the stage and to be comfortable with it,” Ochoa said. “Even though they can be a bit stressful sometimes, rehearsals are fun because you get the chance to watch the show and people grow.”

Ochoa said she enjoys being able to play someone that she’s not like and doing things that she may never get the chance to do. “The best part about being the in play for me is, one, acting, of course, and, two, the people I have the chance to get to know.”

Rathe encouraged students to come see these shows because they will enjoy a evening of humor and entertainment. “All three of this year’s features carries a message of acceptance and survival, but each one of them touches the heart because somewhere in every show, there is a bit of every one of us in every character,” Rathe said.

Performance dates are Thursday, Nov. 6 and Saturday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $4 for students. Activity passes are also accepted.

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