Archive 2008 - 2019

Theatre 370: Six One-Act Plays

by Paul Deschenes

Theatre 370: Six One-Act Plays

On the nights of Friday, February 8th, and Saturday, February 9th, at Holliston High School Theatre 370 presented a series of six student-directed one-act plays under the guidance of Ms. Courtney Bottomley, advisor for the troupe. Three of the compositions also were written by the students who directed them. The Friday night performance, which I attended, was sold out. I’m glad I arrived early enough to purchase a ticket. For only $5.00 I witnessed the efforts and risk taking of upwards of 50 student writers, directors, producers and stage crew members.

If the exaggerated stereotypes and interactions of high school students, teachers, administrators and PA announcements depicted in the last of the six productions are any indication, the individuals who populate our public schools and their day-to-day experiences are not much different today than they have been for the past few scores of decades. I thoroughly enjoyed the banter and repartee that took place in the classroom created by graduating senior writer and director Katie North who, when introducing the play, said she decided to create a piece based upon what she has experienced most in life – the classroom. It was the most lengthy of the productions and brought the evening’s experiences to a satisfying conclusion.

The first play was a brief, witty three-actor ensemble entitled The Last Man on Earth and brought to mind the TV show of the same name starring Will Forte and Kristen Schaal. The second, Wombmates, depicted sibling relationships through the development and interactions of twins within their mothers’ uteri. One set of twins depicted brought to mind Eng and Chang and the extraordinary medical advances that have taken place over the past two hundred years.

The third play, the most serious and dramatic production of the evening, I Never Saw Another Butterfly, was based on a true story of the Holocaust that took place in the Terezin Ghetto, just outside of Prague, from 1942-1944. Only about 100 children and young adolescents of the approximately 15,000 children who lived or passed through there survived. The children’s art director, Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, secreted away two suitcases of the children’s drawings and poems before she was sent to her death in Auschwitz in 1944. The suitcases were retrieved when the war ended.

Batting fourth was a play called The Game of Life, which portrayed a young person’s struggles with identity as they struggled to follow a blueprint for a successful life that, if followed by them, would not have allowed for an existence fulfilled. The penultimate production, These Walls of White, according to the playwright, was written to remind those in the audience to resist being complacent by asking questions “when our humanity is taken away.” Its theme brought to mind Coma, a novel by Robin Cook, and 2017’s satirical, Oscar-nominated horror film, Get Out.

I thoroughly enjoyed the six one-act plays presented by Theatre 370. If the students involved in bringing these productions to fruition are any indication of the insights, creativity and risk-taking our high school students possess at such a young age, I see our future as being in good hands indeed.