Sophomores Genevieve Archibald and Ethan Rebec are will co-direct the upcoming One Act performance for the District Jr. Thespian Festival in December.
“Ethan and I proposed the idea last year to run this,” Archibald said, “So we have been thinking about it for a while.”
This will be the first One Act directed by the duo.
“We really felt like we wanted to help [Theater Director Maureen] Fallon out,” Rebec said. “And [we wanted] to give kids another opportunity to perform. This is another chance for middle school to get something.”
In fact, with Archibald and Ethan volunteering to direct, the middle-schoolers likely would be unable to participate in a One Act.
“The middle school One Act is only taken to districts if a student directs it,” Archibald said. “We have only had three middle-school One Acts for middle-school districts, so we thought it would be nice if we kind of took initiative and directed it.”
Archibald and Rebec are getting first-hand experience.
”We worked with Fallon last year in the middle-school play,” Rebec said. “But this is our first [performance] where it’s like ‘here you go.’ I thought it was going to be easier than it is.”
The One Act cast of 20 to 25 performers formed Tuesday, and the directors have begun to face challenges as they manage the production.
”We get an inside look into everything,” Archibald said. “Casting is a lot more difficult and more brutal than we thought it was.”
The directors will have to meet the criteria of the district guidelines, in addition to organizing the cast, creating a set and getting costumes fitted for the players.
“Scheduling is another hard thing because we make this beautiful schedule, and it’s been changed like four times,” Rebec said. “It’s been stressful. It’s a lot harder getting the kids’ respect. That’s really the hard part: getting their respect and trying to make it happen.”
The directors also voiced their excitement for the show, which is to premiere during district competition Dec. 15.
”Working with [the kids] is really fun, and being around them. They are really energetic,” Rebec said. ”And then there are some surprises too. Like people we didn’t think were going to be loud and able to do it all of a sudden rose up.”
Seventh-grader Arabella D. has been cast as the lead in the One Act, titled “Betty Lou Twinkle’s Tabloid Scandal.”
”Every time we see her in the hall she has the script open,” Rebec said. “She is incredible.”
This will be Arabella’s first district One Act performance, and her first lead role.
”Before coming to West Shore, I did something called Viera Studios,” Arabella said. “And then I also had lines to memorize and sing in my [elementary] school’s chorus. I definitely love acting and singing.”
Being cast as the lead role, Betty Lou, is a new and exciting experience according to Arabella.
”The first time I auditioned I wasn’t really expecting it,” Arabella said. “I was sort of hoping that I was getting Betty Lou because [Genevieve and Ethan] called Sophia and me up again to audition for that, and we were the only two who auditioned for Betty Lou twice. So after that I was sort of hoping, and I kind of knew that I had a chance.”
Archibald and Rebec are beginning to develop a sense of control among the middle-school performers.
“They have directed a practice for Sally Cotter, the one we had on Monday,” Arabella said. “They did a really good job, especially since they tried to corral a bunch of middle schoolers. And they did a good job explaining to us what we were doing.”
With districts one month away, Arabella will prepare for her role right up until the moment the cast is called to the stage.
“There is a lot of lines that I have to memorize, and there is definitely some character development that I think may be a little hard for me,” Arabella said. “But I know that I will pull myself through it, and with the help of Genevieve and Ethan we will make this a good show.”
Arabella, Archibald and Rebec have much work ahead of them, but said that they expect the performance to be a good experience.
“This show is definitely for comedy purposes, and I get to say a lot of lines that made me laugh when I first read through them,” Arabella said. “I am super-excited just to be in every scene. It’s overwhelming, but it’s going to be fun. I know it.”
By Sophia Bailly
Editor’s note: Brevard Public Schools policy prohibits the inclusion of middle-schoolers’ last names on district websites.