“These people from all different walks of life end up on a subway platform. They all think they’re in a different city, and they figure out that they’ve all just died and that’s where they went. Then they have to figure out where the next train goes to, does it go to heaven or does it go to hell? And are they going to get on it? Each person has a monologue to [express] their regrets. You know, ‘I wasn’t a good enough mother’ ‘I wasn’t a good enough lawyer.’ They have to figure out if the bad things they’ve done in life warrants them going to hell,” said Meredith Freeman-Caple, ORHS drama teacher and director.
On Monday, April 2nd at 8 pm in the Oyster River High School Auditorium, Oyster River Drama students will perform “Tracks,” the one-act described above, for the community.
Freeman-Caple took her time selecting a one-act. “I read a lot of one-act plays to find the one that we were going to do, and so many one-act plays are bad. They’re either very childish, or they’re preachy, or they talk down to teenagers as opposed to allowing them to fulfill characters,” said Freeman-Caple. “I read this play and I was just really intrigued by the situation … the characters were filled out enough that it would allow the kids to do some good character work and that’s like basic Acting 101.”
Last Saturday, on March 24th, the cast performed the play at the New Hampshire Educational Theater Guild’s (NHETG) Regional One Act Festival.
The cast received very positive feedback from the audience after their show. “They loved it! The kids go to forums after each block of shows. When they went to their forum right after our show, [the cast] was just overwhelmed with how many people gushed about how much they loved the performance,” said Freeman-Caple.
Even if the audience doesn’t notice it, there are usually one or two mistakes in a show. “I think that it went very well! There were a couple of technical problems during the festival (my fault actually), but the actors played it off great, and Emma [Kovachik (‘20)], who was stage managing, kept her cool and kept the show rolling,” said Sarah Muller (‘18), sound board operator and costume/prop designer.
Technical problems are especially common at the one-act festivals. “You have very little time to set up your lights and sound effects on this new stage,” said actor Oliver Philbrick (‘18). “The one act is also different because it’s much shorter … and allows the shows to be a little more ‘out there’ than the [fall play and the musical].”
Philbrick played the role of The Professor in the play and has been a part of the one act for the past four years. “The judge… gave us a few critiques of our presence in the space, [and] the way we looked out to the audience rather than maybe side to side like one would when sitting in front of a subway tunnel. They also talked a little about volume for a few of the performers,” said Philbrick.
Only three of the six schools that performed at the festival would get chosen to move onto the statewide competition. Sadly, “Tracks” did not get chosen, but the cast did win an award for their ensemble work.
“You just never know,” said Freeman-Caple. “My opinion was that we deserved to be chosen to go to states. We turned in a really clean product. The only upside to it is that we don’t have to continue rehearsing it while we’re rehearsing the musical.”
Cast and crew had a great time at the festival, and they think they put on a good show. “I don’t think the judges enjoyed it as much as the audience did, but that’s just two people compared to a full auditorium. I heard a lot of good things from the audience, and I know that I enjoyed watching it from the booth,” said Muller. “It was a great performance and I’m so proud of everyone involved.”
The cast and crew encourage you to come out to see them perform on April 1st. “It’s only like 35 minutes! It’s a little nugget of some really good acting, and it’s thought-provoking,” said Freeman-Caple. “It’s a great way to support our drama department and the kids in it.”
Admission is $5, hope to see you there!
Photos by: Jae Fletcher