Students Direct at Simsbury High School

Simsbury High School in Connecticut recently featured, May I Have Your Attention, Please? as one of the student directed productions in their One Act Festival. The play was directed by Sophia Capobianco and stage managed by Ava Rooney. I hope to be able to interview them in the future and feature the challenges and rewards of student directing. Stay Tuned!  A very special thank you to Anna Zuckerman-Vdovenko for the photos and permission to publish those here.

 

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In Honor of my Daddy, Robert Rhoden 11/24/1940 – 09/22/2017

Everyone is as a star
glistening and lighting up the sky,
each with its own story and different age
placed carefully by our Creator
And at the appointed time, the star falls
and in that last moment of splendor
the lucky ones and star crossed lovers
get to catch a glimpse and make a wish
as the shooting stars descend back to earth
My eyes are focused, daddy
so as not to miss your last earthly moment of beauty tomorrow
but I want you to know
to me, you will always be the sun
until I too am a shooting star

I Love you Daddy

May I Have Your Attention, Please? Trailer

Video courtesy of Ariel Williams

This intense drama features an emotional scene between a family, already strained tensions are amplified. What is done in the dark comes to the light and it’s never a pretty scene. Come on out THIS WEDNESDAY TO SHACK Auditorium. Doors open at 5:45PM, Play begins at 6PM!

#Theatre4Change

Youth Empower Recommends Play

Youth Empower whose Mission is Promoting a culture of entrepreneurship, ingenuity and positive societal change within youth through the use of social media has written a very kind review of May I Have Your Attention, Please? Check out their website for ways to get involved for youth and Adults. Thank you for supporting #Theatre4ChangeIMG_1046[1]

Suicide is a growing issue today with the increased use of social media applications like Saharah. Youth Empower does not tolerate bullying and we will stand by bullying victims and those who have been affected by a suicide.

“May I Have Your Attention, Please?” is an outstanding and powerful play which educates the audience about how subtle suicide can be and how aware you must be to properly address it. We highly recommend this play as it raises awareness for an issue that has been going on for decades in a powerful and meaningful manner. Please take a moment to share this link with others and if you are a fine arts student, propose this play to your teacher.

It is vital that we create dialogue for this issue and this play does just that.

#Theatre4Change

Featured Full Length Play: Boxes

Looking for a full length play for your Community Theatre? Check out, Boxes.

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SYNOPSIS: Parents don’t come with rule books and it’s easy for the lines of responsibility to become blurred as adult parents lose their health and independence. The play focuses on the lives of Bob and Betty and their adult children Cathy and Michael. Each forced to deal in his own way with a painful move from the only house Bob and Betty have lived in throughout their fifty years of marriage. As the move progresses all must face the harsh reality that some boxes can’t be unpacked.

Great, in all ways too real. Audiences will adore the Dad and Michael characters. They read so true you can almost touch them through their language. The story is pulled together wonderfully. The “unpacking of the boxes” is beautiful and the symbolism of it comes softly without suggestion. This is a picture of the American family after the credits roll. The kind that leaves a heavy lump in the back of your throat. ”- Rebecca Cox

Scotus Central Catholic High: The Performance for a Life

Have you ever saved a life? It’s unlikely when choosing which play to perform that the Director, thinks, “Now which one of these will save an audience member’s life?” In fact, the thinking is probably more along the lines of, “Which play can this cast get through without killing each other.” But then, Scotus Central Catholic High School comes along and their story is as beautiful and engaging as their performance of May I Have Your Attention, Please? I recently was able to speak with, Daniel Strecker who played Chris Borthwick in the play four years ago. I had heard the rumors of some school in Nebraska whose performance had saved a life, but until now, I never knew the rest of the story.
Scotus Central Catholic High School is a small school (400 students), located in Columbus, NE.  It’s a parochial school, and like most schools,  money is tight. In Daniel’s sophomore year of high school the Fine Arts had to cut its budget to save other activities like sports and academic extracurriculars. One Acts was one of the things that was cut. [In case you don’t know what it is, it is a short play acting competition usually the duration of One Act (hence the name).] This may not seem very different from a lot of other schools across the country who when forced to make budget cuts have turned to the arts as one of the first budget items to cut. Though this cut is only the beginning of the story, it easily could have been the end.
Fortunately, at the end of Daniel’s Junior year it was announced that One Acts would be returning. This decision made Daniel and other fans of the Fine Arts very happy. They turned to Director, Becki Zanardi to direct the one act play entry. She accepted the huge challenge of putting together a troupe from the interested but inexperienced students. Only one student had experienced at One Acts competition as an assistant to a stage manager. So the troupe faced quite a challenge.
Once the One Acts were brought back and the teacher was in place, the group read many scripts together. The group was comprised of 20 students total which included the actors and stage crew. The  group was eager to get started but were frustrated early on because they couldn’t find a script they enjoyed or wanted to do or one they felt they could even pull off. Then they found May I Have Your Attention, Please?. When they got to the end of the group read for that script, “the room was silent.” 
Daniel said, “We knew we wouldn’t win anything for One Acts. We had no experience.
We knew we wanted to spend our time well and felt that the script portrayed a message we were willing to work and stand behind.The script really brought us together as actors. We had to be vulnerable as our characters, which isn’t common for a high school performance. We had to spend a lot of time focusing on certain lines because they were raw enough to make it difficult.
For me, playing Chris was difficult. I took acting a little more seriously so I tried as hard as I could to understand his character. I never knew how to say my ABCs backwards until I played Chris! “
The inexperienced troupe ranked 3rd overall at District and Daniel was awarded Best AIMG_0766[1]ctor for his role as Chris Borthwick. It was then on to District Competition and that’s when the unbelievable happened. The audience had responded well and the Scotus troupe felt their performance had been solid but nothing prepared them for what was about to happen. 
“We were told that a life was saved.”
Daniel, explains, “A girl came up to me with a friend. They explained to me that someone from their school had thought about suicide for awhile and that our performance saved her life that night.  They were so impacted by this saving of their friend that they suggested talking to the judges and asking them to let us go to state so that more people could see it performed in the event we didn’t win. Their friend who was near suicide and these two girls were so moved by the script. It was so emotional. I went into my first year of college with an acting scholarship because I realized that if the stage can move someone this much I don’t want to leave it.”
May I Have Your Attention, Please? is by far my favorite play I’ve ever performed. I heard an analogy that I think is fitting for the situation.
A drop of water never comes to know the ripples it makes. (This is true of course because the force causes the water to go out and by the time it returns it’s already a part of the body of water it dropped into). This script moved me and all of my cast mates and I’m sure it moved many audiences. I think it saved more than just one life in our 3 performances of it (District, Conference, and an open audience performance).”
If the analogy is correct, this inexperienced drama troupe from a school of 400 set off a rippling effect in a mighty big way. Who can say they’ve saved a life? What greater feat is there? And they did it with theatre. Is there anything more meaningful or magical? This playwright thinks not.
Recognizing the lifesaving Cast: Valerie Borer,  Conner Moran,  Jacob Neinaber,  Carly Burkhardt,  Emily Kosch,  Daniel Strecker, Jenny Ryan and Director, Becki Zanardi 
#Theatre4Change  #MayIHaveYourAttentionPlease

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