HARRISON, N.Y. – Harrison High School theater students showed off what they have been studying all year at the third annual One-Act Festival on Friday night.
The program, completely run by the students, incorporated all theater classes into one production. Under the direction of Nina Mansfield, theater arts students presented readings, while actors performed student-run productions. “Lock Down,” a one-act play by students Chris Morris and Laura McKinsey, closed the show.
“This gives the students a chance to perform something they created in front of an audience and see how they react,” said Mary Ellis, director of fine and performing arts. “We’re happy that students can now complete a four-year music dance and theater curriculum which is pretty demanding. It’s pretty special that we have this here.”
Mansfield said that unlike with school plays, there are no auditions. Every student gets to perform no matter what level of experience he or she has. Mansfield added that the students had only about six weeks to get ready for the festival. The performances count toward their final grades.
“We have some students who are performing in front of an audience for the first time,” Mansfield said. “Everything is student-written, and they can really take ownership of their work.”
Ellis said theater connects well with the English and language arts portion of the curriculum, since students are learning a different form of communication and writing. Ellis said theater helps with problem solving as well.
“There is no place where you’ll encounter more problems than theater,” Ellis said. “What you create doesn’t necessarily come across onstage how you envision it.”