The annual favorite Jesuit one acts have begun production and will open in January. The one acts are entirely written and directed by Ursuline and Jesuit seniors, with the exception of one junior this year, providing a unique opportunity for showcasing the broader talents of the Ursuline and Jesuit theater community. Approximately 10 one acts of 10-15 minutes in length are being written and performed this year. Ursuline seniors Kate Rucker, Bailey Uttich, and Peyton Walker are each directing a one act this year.
One act auditions are open to students from not only Ursuline and Jesuit, but other area high schools such as Booker T. Washington. The auditions themselves are a unique facet of the experience, as students audition in especially creative ways. “One year, a guy juggled lemons and then took a bite out of one, two guys re-enacted a scene from ‘The Joker,’ three girls made a Tik Tok on stage, and another guy took a bat and smashed a chair,” says Kate Rucker ’20. These inventive auditions contribute to the fun of the experience for both directors and participants, as previous experience “runs the gamut from poorly crafted dad jokes to Alec Baldwin-worthy Trump sketches,” relays senior Peyton Walker.
After auditions, the participants will transition into making their one acts a reality. A lot of hard work, time and preparation goes into writing them. Kate and Peyton have been writing their comedy about a freshman mixer since this summer. “Our lighthearted adolescent tale pokes fun at the infamously awkward rite of passage that we all refer to as the Jesuit-Ursuline freshman mixer. We hit on all the stereotypes, from Jesuit’s most aggressive snapchat stalkers to Ursuline’s Bumble-like obsession with obtaining a homecoming date by Labor Day,” says Peyton.
“We haven’t gotten to direct it yet, but are very much looking forward to it,” says Kate. Kate participated in one acts for the first time last year, and Peyton has acted in them ever since freshman year. Both seniors anticipate the added excitement of directing their own.
Some write one acts deliberately to include their close friends, to make one acts a fun memory for them. For example, senior Wilson Rasco is staging his comedic one act around his close friends, many of whom lack any acting experience, and the idea of brotherhood. Others are not writing original works, but adapting one acts from the past. “My one act was written a couple of years ago by Ursuline graduate Anna Zagorski. It is about everything that can go wrong when you’re taking the SAT,” says Jesuit senior Will Florer.
“My favorite things about the one acts are the amount of new people you get to meet, how funny they are and the unique opportunity that they provide for students,” says Kate. The one acts attract a wide variety of people because “all sorts of people want to participate in a show when they know the commitment level is not as high as a full semester production. And this year we have a lot of funny student-written scripts and plenty of talented actors, so it should be an exciting process,” says Will.
One acts provide a unique and fun experience for the Ursuline and Jesuit theater communities, as well as students from other high schools who wish to participate. They will work hard on these productions until they open in early January, and both writers and performers hope that their peers will come to not only support their hard work but to enjoy a night of comedy in honor of seniors’ achievements.