Night of One-Acts goes wonderfully

Zachary Schwartz ('10)/ Eastside Humor Editor

On Saturday, May 8th 2010 at 6 pm, Cherry Hill High School East hosted the annual One-Act Play and spring 48-Hour Film festivals. During this event, audience members were shown six student-directed and produced (and in one case student-written) one-act plays. In between plays, those in the packed East auditorium were treated to 4 short films written and directed by students. Those competing in the 48-hour film festival needed to complete a film within 48 hours about “the adopt a pet project” which also uses a pet carrier as a prop and contains the line “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink, you can elect a person to congress but you can’t make him think”, sung with guitar or banjo accompaniment.

The top two plays, chosen by a committee of three judges, were: In 2nd place;“Making Nice”, a play about a theatre company’s struggle to deal with an abusive director, directed by Zach Siegel (‘11), and in 1st place: “O FortunaCom” which follows one man’s experience at his new job giving people misfortune , written and directed by Kyle Levine (‘10) . These two plays will perform at the Bucks County Playhouse in NewHope to compete in the tri-county Papermill One-act play competition. Four other plays were performed as well:

  • “Imperfect Proposal”, directed by Shari Rosen (‘10) follows a young man’s many thwarted attempts to propose to his girlfriend.
  • “Lunch”, directed by Shayna Penn (‘10) deals with two outcast’s struggles to fit in, in a lunchroom where they are continuously tormented, as well as their fantasies of what their lives will be like after high school.
  • “Gotta Get Pumped!”, directed by Matt Bennet (‘10) chronicles a young teen’s struggle with body image issues.
  • “God”, directed by Sean Owens (‘10) is a play about an actor and a playwright who are aware that they are characters in a play, and engage in meta-humor for the duration of the show.

Levine, who was the only director to write a play from scratch, was overjoyed and surprised to see his show taking the top honors for the evening, saying “I never thought this would come out of what started as a joke, and me sitting at my computer with a cup of coffee just writing for two months. I mean, I’ve got trophies akimbo and I feel great.”

Awards were also presented to those competing in the film festival.The award for best director was given to Justin Horowitz (‘10) for his film The Project, while the award for Best Film was given to Loose Fur’s Animal Shelter; edited, written produced and directed by Max Gutbezahl (‘10) and his girlfriend Grace Buttery (Drexel University class of 2013).  Although five films were listed in the program, Sean Owen’s (‘10) film A Pleasant Sunday Stroll experienced technical difficulties and was not shown. There were two other films in the competition. One was Little Shop of Condors, edited and directed by Jared Widman (‘10) and written by Widman and Jason Cominetto (‘10). The other was Shenanigans: Rise to Fame; edited, written produced and directed by Geoff Alterman (‘10).

Gutbezahl said “I’m so happy to win. I don’t usually win any awards at these film festivals, so it’s great to not only win one, but to win it for Best film. I’m so proud of my cast and crew. I’m just really happy.”

Widman was unfazed after his film failed to win the competition, smiling and jokingly saying “I was disappointed in my lack of winningness… My film was the best; don’t tell nobody”.

The awards ceremony was about more than announcing the winners of the competition; this final leg of the evening was used to present students with scholarships and other awards for theater-related excellence. The Kyle Sattin Scholarship award was presented to Penn, as well as Brett Israel (‘10). Following this, the Cherry Hill Theatre Alumni Scholarship award was presented to Alyssa Zell (‘10) and Jennifer Donsky (‘10).

Tom Weaver, head of East’s theatre department then presented the Thespis awards. These awards commended those students who performed exceptionally well in the past year. The results are as follows:

  • Best Supporting Actor: Justin Parker (‘10) for the role of Sancho in Man of La Mancha
  • Best Supporting Actress: Shari Rosen (‘10) for the role of a housekeeper in Man of La Mancha and Namarah McCall (‘11) for the role of Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Best Actress: Ariel Sosland (‘11) and Erica Cavaliere (‘10) for the role of Aldonza in Man of La Mancha
  • Best Actor: Lucas Kappler (’10) and Ian Parker (’11) for the role of Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha.
  • Thespian of the year: Shayna Penn (‘10) and Brett Israel (‘10)

Many other miscellaneous awards and accolades were presented to the cast and crews of each show. After the awards concluded, judges remained in the auditorium to allow actors, directors and all others involved in the shows to have their plays critiqued.

Film Festival coordinator Charles Musumeci was pleased with the response the films received at the competition. “I’m very happy with how the night went,” he said. “All of the films were really well received, I think. And it was good to play them for a crowd like the one at One-acts.”

Overall, the night seemed to be a complete success. “I think it was wonderfully fun,” Technical Advisor Pete Gambino said. “It’s fun to see students putting so much passion into something they care about. It really shows.”