Staging Student Creativity, Collaboration and Leadership

One Act Play faculty advisors Mary Pfeiffer (high school teacher) and Ed Gilmartin (theater manager) present this year’s One Act Play performances.

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For aspiring student playwrights and directors, the annual One Act Plays is their stage. This year’s show featured four short plays, written, directed and produced by high-school students and faculty. The work started in August with a call for student playwrights; then, a group of six writers went through the lengthy and challenging process of writing and revising. In early October a group of teachers read and voted on the (anonymous-to-them) submissions, ultimately choosing three student plays for the show, brought to life by three student-directors, Julie Reed (grade 12), Takuto Domeki (grade 11) and Rebecca Malamud (grade 11). In addition to those plays, we offered one by the playwrights Brian Reno and Gabriel Vega Weissman, directed by faculty member Ed Gilmartin. Directors conducted auditions and rehearsed with their casts beginning the last half of November in preparation for our January 31 to February 2 shows in the Blackbox Theater.

The first play, Letters, was written by Maya Platek (grade 12) and directed by Rebecca Malamud. The play focuses on Clara (Elena Picon, grade 12), who had left home, but still held onto letters written by her loved ones. When she returned to her family, her sister Penelope (Elina Garone, grade 11) and father Derrick (Philip Kafasis, grade 9) were relieved; however, the play ended with mysterious and tragic news.

The second play, You Idiot, written by Yoojin Lee (grade 11) and directed by Takuto Domeki depicted the farcical first robbery of two friends, Jay (Taiga Boots, grade 11) and Allen (Naoya Okamoto, grade 11). Lucky for them, the police officer who responded to the break-in (Hannah Mendoza, grade 9) was also new to the job.

The third play was The Tempo of Life, written by Takuto Domeki and directed by Julie Reed. Through the perspective of Darren (Hans Van Der Sande, grade 11)—a failed singer now married with a wife and child (Saxon Kropp, grade 11 and Ericka, grade 3)—the play flashed back to his time as a duo with singer-songwriter Nora (Annabel Cihi, grade 9). Pushed by her agent (Rachel Holm, grade 11), Nora had left Darren, became a solo act and found success.

Ed Gilmartin, assisted by Momoe Nomoto (grade 11), directed the final play, Peanuts and Cracker Jack. Written by playwrights Brian Reno and Gabriel Vega Weissman, the play took place at a baseball game, centered on the conversation between two spectators, a blogger named Aiden (Isaac Fahy, grade 10) and his partner, a veterinarian named Gloria (Leah Gesling, grade 11). Though interrupted by the cynical and witty hawker Carol (Janelle Mendoza, grade 11), they are able to come to key conclusions about their relationship.

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The success of One Act Plays production was largely due to the dedicated work of three particularly talented crew. Stage manager Samantha Walker (grade 11), lighting designer Kouta Miners (grade 11) and lighting crew member Meguna Okawa (grade 12) collaborated with each director, working long hours to enhance each play with sound and light.


During the six-month-long process of bringing intangible imagination to the tangible stage, we admired the creative ideas and steady dedication of the writers, directors, stage manager, crew and actors. In its focus on student-centered creation, collaboration and leadership, the One Act Plays are a special high-school activity that reflect many of ASIJ’s core values—besides making its audience think and laugh.