On Dec. 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bellevue College Stop Gap Theater, Bellevue College students performed short ten minute plays that were directed and performed entirely by students. The event was called Student DIRECTions. Six plays were performed, directed by Students Hillary Dominquez, Max Luposzynski, Annika Summers, Oliver Verrill, Rachel Verrill and Ian Wells. The plays are described as always original, often funny, and sometimes moving. Admission was $5 and only 50 seats were available.
This event has been occurring at Bellevue College every winter for the past eight years in order to support student writers and directors. Any Bellevue College student interested in theater was able to participate or submit work to this event, regardless of whether or not they were already involved in theater at Bellevue College. Participants could collaborate to produce plays about any topic or plot that interested them. Plays were not edited at all by Bellevue College teachers. “I coach the directors very little but talk about respect and time and staging. These are all theatre veterans and some have taken my directing class” said Tammi Doyle, chair of the Bellevue College drama and dance department. “We have a production manager, Tim Bartz who is facilitating scheduling and access for props and costumes. That is invaluable,” added Doyle.
Student directors selected student actors to perform in their plays through a standard audition and callbacks process. Student directors had students perform scenes from the show before selecting the cast members. Students rehearsed their plays for about a month, and typically had rehearsals twice a week.
“Working with these actors has been amazing. They all can take direction really well and it was fun working with friends in a professional setting, and working with only three people is much easier that a large cast. We had fun,” said Rachel Verrill, director of the play “Larry Gets the Call.”
“The experience has been great. [The actors] both take direction really well and they also come to rehearsal ready to go and provide fun ideas as well. I have learned that I don’t have to be the sole voice of a production and that great ideas can come from everybody,” said Olivia Verrill, director of the play “She’s Fabulous.”
“My play ‘Larry Gets the Call’ is about a man who gets unknowingly sent to heaven which looks just like an office building to get told that he is a prophet. God throws him off by not only being a woman but having a physical disability, in which god is not fazed by.
I loved the humor in the show that was about the right things, it is in no way sac-religious nor making fun of disabilities. I loved the fact that god was played by a woman who is incredibly confident and deals with this all the time and the humor behind Larry’s confusion were some things that drew me to this show,” described Rachel Verrill about her play.
“She’s Fabulous” is about two women who go and see “Death of a Salesman” and after auditioning they become bitter because they didn’t get it while their friend got in,” said Olivia Verrill.
“What attracted me to “She’s Fabulous” was its pure comedic potential. I immediately heard it in my head when I first read it,” explained Verrill, “I envisioned fast pick-ups and cues, the script also provides multiple shifts in tone and energy. From a director’s standpoint, this was a very fun show.”