San Lorenzo Valley students tackle 10 minute play festival

Opening next week at San Lorenzo Valley High School is a series of student directed/acted ten-minute plays. Today, I had the pleasure of a little online chat with student director Louis “Joey” Kruse about the whole project, his own piece, and the program’s drive to encourage young directors in their craft.
Louis "Joey" Kruse
Paul Sawyer: So tell me about the entire project.
Louis “Joey” Kruse: Well SLVHS has always been very supportive of students who want to direct, however they realized this year that many students may not know how to direct who have an interest. So this year the Drama Boosters decided to have several different directors choose one ten minute play so that the student directed shows can continue to be a part of the SLVHS Drama Year

PS: How many pieces are part of this project?
LJK: There are six, my show "The Choice" "Death Knocks" directed by John Wasielweski, "Pepperoni Apocalypse" by Cassie Beasley, "Blind Date" by Cassandra Stipes, " Easy Credit" by Kayla Staats and "Commander Danny" by Carina Swanberg 

PS: Tell me about your own play. What is the "thought" of the piece?
LJK: Well "The Choice" is a play by British playwright Alex Broun. It is the story of Vince who is falling back into his narcotic addiction, while his best friend Ronnie has flown in to help him see that he has a choice. I chose this piece because it struck me as a real issue in the world that isn’t talked about while going over the broader picture. We all have a choice; who we are friends with, what we put in our bodies, what toothpaste we use… We all have those choices to make, but it's how we let those choices effect us that make us who we are

PS: What has it been like to work with and direct your peers?
LJK: It has been quite an adventure. After being assistant director for SLVHS' Fahrenheit 451 in the fall, I was a little nervous to be directing things on my own, without anyone to help me. But my two actors Peter Horton and Dominique Berritto have been so amazing, always on task (not kidding) always asking questions that make the show grow and evolve, making character choices that amaze me and send chills through me when I watch them. And Jenny Paolini though only have a small bit towards the end of "The Choice" as Vince's daughter, has been wonderful, understanding of the fact she wouldn't work til towards the end of a rehearsal, being fully committed to the show. I have been blessed to work with my amazing first cast

PS: It sounds like you have made a really strong connection to your actors. That is fantastic. It may be the nonsequitor of its title that caught my eye, but can you tell me about "Pepperoni Apocalypse"?
LJK: It’s a story about cultists who believe that the end of the world is near. When the pizza man arrives they believe that the pizza box (a Pandora's box as it were) Holds the end of the world and they will do whatever it takes to get it, including sacrificing one of their own

PS: Wow. Now that is the kind of fun you hope to get in a one-act/ten minute play festival. Sounds like you guys have really latched on to your material. And finally, if you had one reason why people should come and see this festival, what would it be?
LJK: To support local theatre. The directors of these shows have put a lot of work in the last month of rehearsing into getting the actors and the shows together. It has been an amazing experience and I think all who come to see it will be amazed at what students are really capable of making 

PS: Broadway's talent of tomorrow on display today. Break legs to all of your actors, and best of luck to you and your fellow directors!

San Lorenzo Valley High School presents
New Voices: Student Directed Ten-Minute Plays
San Lorenzo Valley High School Performing Arts Center
7105 HWY 9, Felton, CA 95018
April 21-23, 7pm
April 28-30, 7pm
May 1, 2pm
Tickets at the door, General $10, Students/Seniors $8
April 28 tickets for ASB/Community Night - $7

Arts Funding - "A Return On Your Investment"

The discourse on funding for the arts has been around for a long time, but now there is a real push to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the budget. Thankfully, Kevin Spacey is leading the public charge to head off this movement.


Here is the video from Spacey's Kennedy Center lecture.

This is not a new issue, but the threat seems stronger this time than ever before. As arts educators, we see the benefits of the arts in our classrooms everyday. It isn't just for those who are looking to become artists, or those working to hone their craft. The arts show who we are as a people and as a society, but they also show who we are as individuals. The arts exist to recreate human existence in all of its facets. The cold hard facts on the benefits of arts education are undeniable.

You can help by contacting your congressman, and of course by supporting the arts in your community. Stand up for the arts by taking your seat and seeing the amazing creations in your very own town.

The Do's and Don'ts for High School Theatre Audiences

DO arrive on time. Theaters do their best to start on time, so the least you can do is be there to experience the whole story. Getting there early allows you to sit, get settled, hear the preshow music, read the directors notes, and get into the world of the show. You will feel so much more into the piece that way.
DON'T waltz in twenty minutes late. If you have missed that much, just try and get your tickets exchanged for another night. You won't appreciate the piece nearly as much and will just be a distraction to audience members and performers as you enter during the show.

DO turn your cell phone completely off before curtain, and before coming back from intermission.
DON'T think that turning your cell phone just to "silent" or to a no-transmit or "airplane mode" is good enough. On silent, cellphones still emit and receive signals which greatly interfere with wireless microphone systems used by actors and technicians. Even if you turn off your signal, the bright light from your screen within a darkened theater is yet another major visual distraction for audience and actors alike. So, just turn it off.

DO buy DVD's or photo books of the production if you liked it and if they are for sale (hopefully through a special arrangement with the publishing company).
DON'T take photos, flash photos, or video of shows unless you are granted permission by the director/producer. First off, it is a violation of copyright laws as the producers pay royalties to put on the show. Second, flash photography is (again) distracting, and just plain dangerous. No one wants to see an actor get blinded and fall off the stage into the orchestra pit. And third, there is the combo no-no of cell phone video. That is the "bad audience member trifecta": cell phone + light up screen + illegal video.

DO stay for the whole performance!
DON'T walk out at intermission. You never know what is coming next! The second act is usually more story based since all the clumsy business of introducing the characters and setting up the story is taken care of in the first act. Plus, even if you know the story, you probably have no idea how it is staged, so don't walk out and miss all the cool stuff yet to happen. Also, you already paid for your ticket... you might as well see how it all comes out.

DO applaud, cheer, laugh, cry, and react in general. The amazing beauty of theatre is that it is live! No matter how amazing you think Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two is, all of your screaming won't make Daniel Radcliffe give even more effort to impress you. Live actors feed off the audience. It is instant feedback into how the performance is going. If you love it, show it! Nothing weirder than not hearing applause after a song, especially if the performer actually did a good job. Remember, the live audience is part of theatre!
DON'T be an "inappropriate" audience member. For example: yelling out your friends name, talking during the performance, eating in the theater (especially if the food is "noisy" like chips), going "eww" if characters kiss (get over it), mocking the performance or doing anything that would generally result in a smack upside the back of your head by your sweet little grandma.

DO be appreciative of the insane amount of hours it takes to put up a high school theatrical production. Let's do the math. An actor spends an average of three hours a night, five nights a week, for at least eight weeks at rehearsal. Tack on another hour everyday for memorizing and running lines. Add another five hours to every night during tech week, plus at least thirty hours for costumes, makeup, hair, publicity, set building, painting, lighting, sound, sit-and-sing with the orchestra and so on and so forth. That is 276 hours of work, not counting auditions or callbacks. That is almost like a full time job on top of school work and everything else in life!

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