Student directors show their talent

Advanced directing class students juniors Daphne Dossett, Chris Forrer and senior Kanon Havens each directed one hour-long play in Springfest on May 10-12 in the Marshall Theatre.

The class showcase featured three plays, “These Shining Lives” by Melanie Marnich and directed by Dossett; “Tone Clusters” by Joyce Carol Oates and directed by Forrer; and “Saturn Returns” by Noah Haidle and directed by Havens. Each night, different pairings of two of these plays were performed.

“These Shining Lives” is set in Ottawa and Chicago, Ill., from 1922 to 1938. It follows the protagonist Catherine and her friends in the course of getting infected with radium poisoning from work and suing their company for hiding the truth from its employees. According to Dossett, it “emphasizes the strength of four women as they overcome adversity and the touch of time.”

With only six actors and actresses, the play has more than 10 roles.

“Tone Clusters” is set in a television studio in 1990. It features an interview of the parents of a murder suspect, who are forced to accept the truth despite their self-deception of how the media wrongly portrayed their son.

Forrer said the beauty of the play lies in “a hard truth about the human condition and people’s inability to see what lies right in front of them when their contentment degrades into apathy.”

There was a voiceover throughout the play, which the director described as a “technical sensory overload.”

“Saturn Returns” is a story that follows a man who lost his wife and daughter at different stages of his life and how he became nostalgic and lonely afterward.

Havens said it is a simple but elegantly written “story of love and loss” and the play was delicately crafted.

In the play, there are three actors portraying the main character at ages 28, 58 and 88 as well as an actress portraying the man’s wife, daughter and nurse.

In addition to the directors, the cast and most of the crew are students who volunteered to assist with the productions.

Throughout the production, the directors had to refine their communication skills so they could be understood by the entire cast and crew.

“You learn how to get along with others in the theatre, and learn even more about yourself through collaborating,” Havens said. “Theatre is really not only about the end product. It’s also about all the realizations you make and gain as a human being through rehearsals.”

The theatre and communication arts department will have two more class showcases at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on May 20. They respectively feature the dialect scenes by the intermediate acting class and contemporary scenes by the beginning acting class.

Cassie Wong/
For the Review
Cassie Wong can be  reached at

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