Five minutes with the One Acts directors

Gabby Duso '23, Staff Writer

The lights go down as the red curtain opens. Carefully arranged onstage are two doors, a couch, a small table and numerous other props. Director Lilly Hunwick ’23 waits backstage anxiously as her project from the past three months is about to be put before the public.

“The Lodge”, written by Jonathan Sayer, Henry Lewis and Henry Shields, was one of four shows put on during South’s annual One Acts. Hunwick says the show follows a group of mediocre actors trying to put on a play where everything goes wrong during the show.

Directing didn’t come without its challenges, Hunwick said, especially when organizing a show where things are meant to fall apart.

“My greatest challenge while directing was probably figuring out the logistics of the behind-the-scenes aspects such as props, blocking, movement on stage, lighting and other things like that,” Hunwick said. ”My show was very prop and blocking heavy, so that was something that took a lot of brainstorming.”

Aspiring to a career in musical theater, Hunwick says that she will continue to use what she learned directing for the rest of her life.

“It’s helped me grow as an actor myself,” Hunwick said. “I was analyzing more things than I normally would with only one character in my hands rather than a whole cast.”

Opportunities to direct are important to student expression, Hunwick said, and she is grateful that South supports these experiences.

“Having an idea and being able to put it on a stage is a gift,” Hunwick said. “Having an amazing drama department allows young students to experience this gift.”

The red curtain closes. An intimate set is constructed in front of it, consisting of a lone keyboard.

A man in a white button-down enters the stage, sitting on the piano bench ready to play. Director Avery Barbour ’23 knows that that will not be the case.

“Will He, He Won’t” was written and directed by Barbour. The plot follows a character trying to play his keyboard for the audience but being interrupted by increasingly absurd circumstances until the character has had enough and confronts his writer.

Barbour used the opportunity to write and direct his own show to experience what the future of his career may hold.

“I want to be a writer and director when I grow up,” Barbour said. “So might as well start now and see if I’ve got what it takes.”

Despite being proud of writing his own script, Barbour recalls being nervous when watching the show.
“I always found it hard to watch the performances of my One Act. It wasn’t because I thought the show was bad,” Barbour said. “I’m actually proud of it, but whenever I would try and watch it I would just start to break out in a sweat.”

Now that performances are over, Barbour says he will carry the lesson of managing his response to audience reactions.
“Maybe I’m too hard on myself, but if I don’t have people crawling up to me crying over how good it was, I tend to think I failed,” Barbour said. “I’ve got to realize that’s stupid because it is.”