Havre high students set for one-act productions


November 7, 2018

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Raelie Stamper-Windy Boy, from left, Evan Davison and Jacob Miller rehearse a scene from one of the one-act plays that will be presented at Havre High School Thursday night through Saturday night.

An outlandish newscast, an examination of break-ups, a glimpse of teachers behind the scenes and an abbreviated history of the Civil War are all productions that are slated for Havre High School's fifth annual one-act play production which premiers this weekend in the Havre High School Theatre.

Angela Pratt, the school's drama teacher, said the show times will be 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Pratt said the upperclassmen pick a show they want to direct, and they have to present it and tell Pratt how they're going to do it.

Then the student's have to cast it, direct, practice and produce their plays.

She said she has about 12 to 15 seniors in her class and it's strictly voluntary to direct a one-act play.

"So far I haven't had to recruit anybody," she added. "Everybody's been wanting to do it on their own."

This year, she had five directors. Two people are directing one of the four total productions.

Aria Pratt and Trevor Bulkley are directing "The History of the Civil War (Abridged)"; Morgan Columbus is directing "It's Not You, It's Me"; Aarron Thompson is directing "Teachers on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown", and Hannah Bricker is directing "Action News with 10 Percent More Action."

Typically, the event has two dramas and two comedies, Pratt said, but this year all the student-directors chose to do comedies.

"I love seeing them develop their talents. I love seeing the different directors. The kids try different things to coach them to do things that I've been coaching them earlier to do," Pratt said. "I love to see the students work together for a common goal and to have pride in their craft. It's neat to see them kind of get after each other and to keep things going. It's just neat to see them grow and learn something new."

Pratt added that Aria Pratt, Bulkley and Bricker are in the Montana Actors' Theatre production of "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" and won't be able to see the final production of their shows.

One of the challenges that Pratt said some of the student-directors encounter is timing.

"All these students, especially theater kids, they're involved in everything. So finding time that works with your whole cast is really hard," she said.

Another challenge is directing their fellow peers, she added.

"It's hard. Telling kids that are your own age what to do and expecting them to listen to you is hard. So it's finding that balance of how to talk to them with respect and with kindness, but yet still firmness that, 'I need this done,' is hard," she said.

There is some training in the beginning for the student-directors that goes over what is expected of them and how to go about the process. Pratt said she also tells the other actors that "these are your directors, you listen to them as if it was me and we'll have no problems."

Auditions for the one-acts started in the first couple of weeks of school. Pratt said the one-act plays are usually done at the end of the school year, but she thought moving them to the beginning of the year would be a good way to get more students to be involved with theater.

"The one-acts are nice because students that have never done plays before, this is a small commitment. Small, tiny roles; not a lot of lines to learn, and it's a lot more comfortable instead of coming and doing an audition for a big huge show like our next one which is 'The Little Mermaid,'" Pratt said. "So this will help get kids in the door that maybe have never done theater before. And it's an easy way to get a taste without being so scary. Then we can hopefully have more kids auditioning."

Aria Pratt, a senior, said she enjoys acting and likes working with kids a lot. She added that she has wanted to direct a one-act play since she started acting as a freshman and has wanted to direct the play she is doing since sophomore year.

"I thought it'd be fun to get a bunch of kids together and direct a play and make something good," she said.

One of the challenges Pratt said she had was teaching kids how to act. She added that every student varied in how they needed to be coached.

"Some of them you just tell them what to do and they've got it. Some of them have already gotten it and you don't have to tell them. Some of them you have to show them how to do it," she said.

Her advice to those who want to direct a one-act play next year is to have patience.

After directing a one-act play she now knows the struggle of being a director and, more specifically, how frustrated directors get when actors don't learn their lines.

"Personally, as an actor, I was slow at learning lines just 'cause I was kind of lazy," Pratt added. "I think future plays that I'll be in, I think I'll be a little more hard working in learning my own lines."

"Our directors have been so fantastic," Angela Pratt said. "The actors that choose to be directors, their acting skills blossom because they get it. They understand kind of what I'm trying to do with them. A lot of the things that I've been telling them to do become concreted because they're having to tell somebody else to do it."

Aria Pratt said she's had a great time directing and this is a good way to finish off her last year.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson


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