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Q & A with Athanasia Giannetos, One-Act student director

Senior Naveen Kanji's Play,

Senior Naveen Kanji's Play, "The Brahman, The Tiger, and The Jackel"

Regina Roberg

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As many of you have attended or at least heard about the 2012 World Festival of One Act Plays, it  displayed the essence of diversity, with each act originating from a different culture, different student directors directing eachplay and completely different scenarios. These scenarios ranged from a comical scene of two elderly brothers in Ireland getting robbed by two of their younger brothers, to a serious act focusing on the homecoming of a young Israeli soldier suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

In the following interview, junior Athanasia Giannetos, one of this year’s One Act student directors, gave us a sneak peak at what went on behind the scenes of this year’s World Festival of One Act Plays.

Q: Could you give us a quick summary about what the One Act Play Festival was about this year?

A: This year as a Directing ensemble we focused on celebrating Niles North’s diversity by choosing shows that exemplified the ethnicities of our school.

Q: What was the overall idea behind making each act from a different country? How did this affect the play as a whole?

A: We wanted to choose plays that came from the most represented countries at Niles North.

Q: Did each director have to adapt their script based off of what country they were assigned? Did you choose your own country to do? What sort of research did you have to do to make the act as culturally accurate/realistic?

A: Each director read many plays before finally deciding on a culturally diverse One Act. We made sure not to have the same ethnic One Acts as we wanted to represent countries all over the globe.

Q: How big of a role do you think culture played in the play? Was it just to create a setting, or did it actually attribute to the story you were telling through each act?

A: Telling people that their ethnicity would be represented in the festival encouraged them to audition and come see the shows. Directors would go to ethnic clubs around the school trying to get involvement from a diverse body of students.

Q: How many hours did each cast prepare for the show?

A: It really depends on the show, but most directors held rehearsal after school 4-5 days a week and then scattered throughout Winter Break.

Q: Why were the One Acts directed by students this year? How do you think this changed the show’s overall quality?

A: Being a student director drastically changes the actor-director relationship. It’s harder to tell your peer to memorize lines and be on time than to have an adult tell them.

Q:What do you think is the number one thing the cast/directors got out of this experience?

A: Although I can’t speak for all the directors, I know that this experience has helped me gain insight on other roles throughout the production process. I understand the level of communication that is needed between the designers, actors, crew members and director to create a successful show.

Q: What makes the One Acts such an unusual experience (for both cast and audience) compared to the rest of Niles North’s plays and musicals?

A: For most of the students involved in One Acts, this is their first time onstage whereas other Niles North productions draw upon the more experienced members of the department.

Q: What was your favorite part of the whole production?

A: Being able to use the knowledge I’ve learned throughout my experience in other productions and apply it hands-on. It has made me realize how much I’ve learned from the numerous productions and classes I have taken here at Niles North.

Q: Were there any drawbacks/obstacles backstage or during rehearsal during this rigorous preparation?

A: It was a challenge working with my peers and getting them to listen to me. Being the same age as most of them, it was difficult to instruct without sounding bossy or mean. It’s definitely hard to reprimand your friends and instruct them, especially when your grade is resting on their performance.

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Q & A with Athanasia Giannetos, One-Act student director