From the top: Direct Fest features Drewid directors

By Caitlin Shannon 

Lights! Camera! Action! Well, that’s not exactly what student directors have been doing these past few weeks, but surely close. This week, the Drew Theatre Department is hard at work with DirectFest 2016 a celebration of the student directing talent that lies right here on Drew’s campus. The semester may have just started but these directors and their actors have been working to put together their productions within a limited amount of time.

A director’s workshop allows beginning directors a chance to direct a 10-minute play and get feedback. This semester’s workshop plays were “The Philadelphia” by David Ives, directed by Aaron Sartorio (’18) and “Suicide Squeeze” by Richard Grossman, directed by Brennan Laskas (’18). These plays will be performed twice, once to get feedback and again to apply it. The first of these performances was on Sept. 26, where the directors and their actors showcased their work and received comments. Both shows have now been working all week to apply those comments in a culminating performance on Sun. Oct. 1 at 4:30 p.m. in the acting lab at the DOYO. Performances are free, but seating is limited.

Sartorio, director of “The Philadelphia,” has been involved in theatre since age 9 and has learned a lot through this director’s workshop experience. “What I learned is things take time, you’re not going to get everything right the first time,” Sartorio said. With such little time and such a short script to work with, Sartorio shared the challenges him and his actors have faced in developing their characters without much information. Even so, he expressed the excitement of watching his production come together and shared, “The most rewarding thing is watching my actors succeed, it makes me so happy inside.”

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The full-length production featured in this year’s DirectFest is “Stop Kiss.”  Directed by Ciana Proto (’17), the play tells the story of two women who slowly fall in love and how they navigate exploring their relationship and dealing with an uncertain future in the face of a society that is not accepting of them being together.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Photo by Allison Estremera/ Assistant Student Life & Arts Editor

“Stop Kiss,” directed by Ciana Proto (’17), is DirectFest’s full length production.  Despite the limited time frame, Proto and her production team have been able to pull together the entire production and look forward to its opening. Proto tells what it was that drew her to the theatre in the first place sharing, “Theatre has the really amazing ability to connect everyone by telling completely different stories that capture the universality of the human experience.” It then seems obvious why Proto was drawn to “Stop Kiss,” the touching story of Sara and Callie who are assaulted on the streets of the West Village after their first kiss.  

“It’s been so rewarding to work with this amazing cast of actors and watch them explore and find the truth and the drive behind each character,” Proto said of her cast.  Make sure to catch this affecting story in the Directing Lab in the DOYO Sept. 28-Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee at 2 p.m. on Oct. 1. Tickets are $5 or $10 for Drew students with I.D.

[Feature Image courtesy of Lynne Delade]

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