Short Play Festival to bring student creativity to the stage

The Short Play Festival is quickly becoming a well established tradition, however this year’s collection of plays brings original ideas to the stage in new ways, unlike any festival of the past.

“This year there will really be a lot of exciting unknowns in the festival,” says Aaron Carney, Stagecraft teacher and festival facilitator. “In the past, the things we’ve performed have all been tried and tested, this year that isn’t the case.”

14 one-act plays will be performed as a part of the event, more shows than any festival of the past. Among these plays are several comedies, dramas and five never-before-seen plays, including four student originals. These original plays allow for student directors to make any creative choice they see fit, according to those directing plays, having unlimited theatrical options is an important aspect of directing a production.

“Having free creative reign is incredibly important,” says Jayme Coveliers, senior and student director. “You should be able to take risks and make mistakes, because that’s the only way to improve a piece that you’re working on.” Coveliers adds that the ability to take these risks will make the festival as memorable as ever, which, according to Carney, is the goal for this year’s productions.

“Forming these creative ideas in a theatre class is one thing,” says Carney. “But putting them up on stage and performing in front of an audience really takes it to next level. In the end, the goal is for our student directors and actors to become comfortable experimenting on the stage, as this year’s plays allow for them to do.”

While the plays being performed this year are notable on their own, the Short Play Festival has become an ETHS tradition for another reason. According to Carney, this reason comes from the format of the festival itself, which is reliant on student directors instructing their fellow students on the stage.

“For student directors, the festival is a chance to lead their own production on the stage, while still being able to interact with their peers in a constructive way,” notes Carney. “And for the actors, it gives those who may have not been cast as lead roles in the past to flourish in their own right. It’s really the ultimate learning experience for all students involved.”

This collaboration between peers not only makes the festival an educational experience, but an outlet for ETHS students to display their talents of writing, acting and directing. According to Coveliers, the ability to work with peers is the most rewarding part of being a director.

“Evanston has some of the most brilliant artistic minds I’ve ever seen,” says Coveliers. “That’s why I love creating and collaborating with my fellow students, because not only is the work intensely fun, it also makes something beautiful come to life on the stage.”