Four women walk into a liposuction clinic…

The One Acts Festival is taking place again this year within the Dramatic Arts Department at Brock University, showcasing the work of students in the DART 3P54 – Directing II course. This year the department is featuring 10 plays from third and fourth year students.
For this course, students can expect to learn a variety of important skills; casting, design, production, rehearsing, among other tricks of the trade.
With an extremely tight schedule, students can learn a thing or two from Virginia Rey, Associate Professor in Dramatic Arts, who teaches 3P54. Rey lends a helping hand to students, by supervising and giving feedback throughout the whole process.
“Auditions are freaky for the actors, they have 10 directors and I sitting in a room for an audition. We do one five hour session of auditions,” said Rey.
Rey has recently wrapped up directing the last main-stage production of the year, The Blue Room. The time and effort that was put into the main-stages are also reflected in the smaller student productions like One Acts.
On the larger scale, the main-stages are the two biggest productions in which the department is involved.
“We try to make them balanced in a sense that over a period of three years of going through Brock, students are experiencing enough variety,” said Rey.
With the smaller production, it is still very much a collaborative process where the faculty, students and technical staff work together to deliver high quality theatre productions.
“Our professional staff are very generous and helpful,” said Rey.
“In addition to the students who are volunteering their time to act in the One Act plays, we have a course in stage-craft which supplies crews to the various shows. We have two crews, who are working with us and are being marked.”
For Rey, being involved with One Acts is her favourite course to teach since coming to Brock out of professional directing.
“Every year I have a new batch of exciting new directors and I get to see new directors going out into the World.”
Aside from aspiring to become professional directors, some of the students are planning to go into teaching, so they require the skills from the technical side of acting that these courses offer in order to take on the work after university.
Casey Gillis, a third-year student in Dramatic Art, wants to become a high school drama teacher after Brock. While she probably would not do anything as eccentric as Mr. G in Summer Heights High, Gillis has taken on a play that is sure to be a success.
Gillis’s directing debut for One Acts is called The Most Massive Woman Wins, which involves four women in a liposuction clinic; a younger girl who is 17 and three older women; one is a business woman, a homebody and another one who lives in her trailer.
“It’s interesting the way the story is told because they talk about why they came to the clinic through nursery rhymes. It symbolizes how they all were essentially bullied because of nursery games when they were children. As they go on, they have these monologues that describe how they got to the clinic and the people who have influenced them,” said Gillis.
The script, originally by Madeline George was found by Gillis in a book that a drama teacher had recommended to her and she was drawn to use it for her year-end project.
“This class is very different, where you have all the courses I have taken in the past focus on acting. Acting is like looking from the inside-out and directing is from the outside-in, so adjusting to that has been hard.”
But after all the hard work this semester, students like Gillis are excited to see the actors on stage.
“I’m like a proud mom with her kids,” said Gillis.
For Rey, she can remember times that have led her in the direction of theatre.
“I certainly didn’t, when I went to University, plan on becoming a director. What changed my mind was working with one of my professors who directed me in a couple of shows; and I also found his directing fascinating, and it seemed like a world that was fun, so it changed the direction I was going in,” said Rey.
“I think I started out directing at age five when I started staging my dolls and I even sometimes got adults to humor me and allow me to stage them. Certainly my most vivid theatre recollection, which may not have been an inspiration for directing, but is what I think set me on this histrionic path, was I saw Peter Pan on Broadway. I spent weeks flying off the coffee table,” said Rey.
One Acts Fesitval takes place on March 15 at 2:00 p.m. and March 16 at 9:00 p.m in rooms ST107 (Studio Theatre) and ST103 Schmon Tower, on Brock Campus. Donations are accepted for admission. For more information contact dramatic.arts@brocku.ca

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