Hinsdale Central one-act plays no joke
Updated: June 18, 2012 1:33AM
If Dr. Seuss, Woody Allen and God were together at the same time, it really would seem as if some great cosmic joke was being set up.
Metaphorically, anyway, those three characters will get together in “What is This, Some Kind of Joke?” a Hinsdale Central drama department offering.
The show is really three one-act plays, each of them student-directed and distinct from one another.
The three Hinsdale Central student-directors got together, discussed their works and came up with the title, “What is This, Some Kind of Joke?” based on the “three men walk into a bar” joke.
The student-directors added a tag line which reads, “A night of mildly amusing one-acts,” even though what they wanted to offer up that the one-acts would be “comedic” - even “hilarious” - before settling on “mildly amusing.”
The show will certainly be interesting and has lots of potential to be more than “mildly amusing” if conversations with the three directors have any predictive value.
The teen directors are each enthusiastic and energetic students with a great deal of passion for the play they are presenting, which is appropriate since each student also selected the play.
When drama teacher Christine Hicks announced last year that there would be an opportunity for students to direct a play the following year, Hannah Verdon knew that she would audition for the role of director, especially since virtually all of her theater experience to that point had been on stage as an actor. To have the chance to direct would be really interesting, she said.
She is directing “When God Comes for Breakfast, you Don’t Burn the Toast,” by Gary Apple, a play with three characters — a husband, a wife and God, the breakfast guest.
“It’s fun because it’s a big concept and yet it’s a comedy,” she said.
As an actor, she has worked quietly taking instruction from the director, so she has found the new role challenging.
“For me, this experience has been about vocalizing my opinions,” Verdon said. “How do I express what I want to see to my actors?”
The actors are her school peers and yet she must be their leader, their director, in this role. Verdon will attend Northwestern University next fall where she plans to major in theater.
Alex Newkirk is a junior who really enjoys improvisational comedy. The play he selected is Woody Allen’s “God.”
“We’ve had to make it a lot less dirty, which is tragic,” Newkirk said.
He is a witty teen who had lots of ideas about what he wanted to do before deciding on “God. “
Newkirk’s cast is nine or 10 people.
“I learned that directing a play is a hundred times more stressful than acting in plays,” he said.
“God” has been described as “fast-paced and delightfully confusing.”
In fact, since it is apparently designed to confuse the audience, Newkirk may have picked the perfect play for his directorial debut.
Being director has also been incredibly time-consuming, according to Newkirk. By the time he gets home at night, he’s exhausted, and yet he is in the midst of his junior year so has his studies. He laughed and noted that the two other student-directors are second-semester seniors. Newkirk, by the way, who will be performing at the May 12 Chicago Teen Comedy Festival, has taken classes at Second City and was selected as a member of the All-State Improv team at Theater Fest, but he plans on majoring in engineering when he goes to college the year after next.
Rosie Cappetta is a senior who will attend the University of Maryland next fall to major in French and Spanish. She plans to become a teacher, and it is that aspiration — as well as her love of theater — that led Cappetta to seek to audition for a chance to direct one of the plays. The play she selected is “The Suessification of Romeo and Juliet” by Peter Bloedel.
Just as the title implies, this is a combination of the famous Dr. Seuss rhyming and whimsy with Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy, though the emphasis is more on whimsy than tragedy. Cappetta has a cast of 13 people playing 25 different characters; and the students who are acting for her are mostly underclassman, which was by design, she said. She wanted to offer underclassman a chance to participate in the high school’s drama offerings.
Like her director peers, “It’s taken a while for me to figure out what works and what doesn’t,” she said.
“What is This, Some Kind of Joke?” starts at 7 p.m. Thursday and April 20-21 in the Hinsdale Central High School auditorium. Tickets are $7 each.
Call (630) 570-8165 for information.