Three Terrific One Acts


From left to right are Tallula Sullivan, Faye Nazarchuk, Sophia Figueira and Mitchell Phesay. (Source: Kelly McKenna (III))

With the stage set and the lights dimmed, the din in the Black Box theater turned into hushed anticipation. On November 4 and 5, Boston Latin School Theatre actors and actresses transformed into reindeer, firefighters and battle chefs for their annual production of the One Acts.

This year’s three plays were Santa Clause Might Not Be Coming to Town by Don Zolidis, The Meaning of Life by BLS theatre teacher Mr. Joseph Gels when he was 17 and War is Hell: And Other Fun Stories to Tell Your Kids by Declan Gorman (II), Carmen Laudato (II) and Creighton Banitt (II).

Santa Clause Might Not Be Coming to Town, directed by Mitchell Phesay (II) and Tegan Trueblood (II), started off the show with holiday spirit. This play tells the story of a disgruntled elf named Dipsy, who embarks on an adventure to find Santa Claus and returns him to the North Pole.

Phesay says, “My co-director, Tegan, [and I] got the privilege [of choosing] a play for ourselves, so obviously we chose a show about the poor working conditions of a modern-day capitalist-centralized Christmas.”

Following the worldwide adventures of Dipsy came an inner quest for purpose in The Meaning of Life, directed by Gabriel Feinberg (II) and Jude Cannon (II). In a magical office building, an accountant seeks out the meaning of life. He visits many eccentric characters, such as a donkey intercom, before the receptionist finally reveals to him that the meaning of life is to kill time. 

Rounding out the trio of shows was War is Hell: And Other Fun Stories to Tell Your Kids, directed by Laudato, Gorman and Banitt. This act features four veterans who discuss their war stories at a weekly group meeting.

When asked how they conceptualized the play, Laudato recalls, “The three of us were in a Discord call writing an episode of The Amazing World of Gumball as a joke, but eventually one of us came up with the idea of writing a play for BLS One Acts. From there we developed the concept of four veterans telling war stories in a bar.”

Not only were the One Acts student-directed, but the props, lighting, costumes and behind-the-scenes work were student-led as well. One challenge that arose during this process was rebuilding the Black Box stage in time for rehearsals. Laudato, who heads set design in addition to directing, explains, “This involves arranging the massive stage pieces into an acceptable arrangement and crawling under the stage to screw the pieces together. We lovingly refer to this process as ‘goblining.’”

Audience members were impressed by the mix of humor, social commentary and deep exploration into the human experience. There was a One Act for everyone.

BLS Latin teacher Mr. John Kerpan says, “The stories were engaging, varied and energetically acted. I appreciated the slight surrealism that each act had.”

For the actors and crew, BLS One Acts offered something else: an opportunity to feel a sense of belonging. Van Hoang (IV) shares, “As someone who is generally introverted and new to [theater], I had a great time performing. I became friends with the people in my act and enjoyed doing physical stunts. […] It was all worth it to see my friends and family in the audience.”

Bravo to the cast and crew on a fantastic show!